SAD: Tips to Improve Your Mood
When the seasons change, it can adversely affect our mood, especially in Colorado, where we see more sunshine days than most other states. As we move into the fall and winter months, we get more overcast weather, as well as a shorter duration of sunlight. Most people underestimate or don’t fully understand how much light affects mental health.
For example, those who work night shifts tend to have higher depression rates than those who work during the daytime. They notice as a result of the shortened duration of light during the day, their free time is often in darkness.
Dr. Matthew Brennecke ND says that signs of depression can come in many forms. He looks for those who:
- Begin to isolate or withdraw more from personal contact
- Avoids conversations or is easily irritable with those they love
- Begins to sleep throughout the day
Although you may notice these behaviors in the people you care about, it’s also important to be self-aware and notice them in yourself. If you or someone you know is adversely affected by the changing seasons, there are a few things you can try on your own to manage the symptoms. Dr. Nicole Lewis ND suggests the following:
- Vitamin D. Research shows that people with low levels of vitamin D correlate to higher rates of depression, and maybe people with SAD have been found to have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D.
- Bright Light Therapy. Although it can take 3 weeks to see full benefits, bright light therapy is an excellent resource for those with depressive moods in the fall and winter months.
- St. John’s Wort. A study demonstrated the safety of SJW combined with bright light therapy (check with your doctor before beginning).
- SAMe. This supplement has been shown to treat SAD symptoms, and it tends to have a faster onset than other supplements in medication- days to weeks. (check with your doctor before beginning).
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise 3 times per week has been shown effective at treating major depression in adults.
- Talk Therapy. One study found 6 weeks of CBT to be as effective as 30 minutes of 10,000 lux light therapy
If you notice that managing your symptoms alone does not alleviate your discomfort, seeking outside assistance is essential. It’s possible that there are underlying causes beyond the changing season that may be causing your elevated state of mood or depressive conditions.
The Wholeness Method offers something unique from other mental health providers. We provide a comprehensive assessment program and a dedicated team of professionals who will work with you to get to the root of your symptoms. You are not alone, we are here to guide you every step of the way. Please contact the Wholeness Center at 970-221-1106 to get started.