As we get closer to winter, the the days get shorter and it's easy to feel like you've blinked and the sun has disappeared. For some, especially those prone to mental illness, "winter blues" is a serious thing. It's actually listed in theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Possible symptoms in sufferers are listed as, "They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed." With winter fast approaching (yes, even with these 80-degree days. It'll come around eventually, trust us.), we've compiled a list of how to ward off seasonal affective disorder this year.
While this trick is not entirely scientifically proven, seasonal affective disorder is found to be prevalent in the population of every Nordic country except Iceland? Why is this? Some suggest it is because of the high levels of fish Icelandic people eat. This argument is further supported with the same phenomena being found in Japan, also a country with a high level of fish consumption.
The chief reason for seasonal affective disorder is the lack of sunlight we get. Think about: summer is associated with happiness for reason, with its globs upon globs of sunlight. During the winter season, doctors recommend going outside for at least 30 minutes within 10 minutes of waking up for a little perk-me-up. There are also high intensity light sources, called "light boxes", that can be bought, providing up to 10,000 lux of light.
It's tempting to burrow in during the winter months- eating hearty meals and snuggling with your favorite blanket, but it's important for your body and mind to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is proven to raise serotonin levels and if you can find a way to combine being outside with your workout routine, even better!
If despite all attempts your SAD symptoms persist, it may be smart to talk to your health provider about an antidepressant prescription that will increase your levels of serotonin.