Cash 1 Blog
Seasonal Slumping? Here Are Some Solutions
Depression isn’t always about feeling sad - It's about having SAD, seasonal affective disorder. One in four of us experience symptoms that include anxiety and mood swings along with fatigue. Do you feel like it's a chore to get out of bed these days? Have you gained a few pounds? All of this is because you are sensitive to the lack of sunlight. The winter days are shorter and this tends to disrupt your internal body clock and forces your brain to work overtime to produce more melatonin. It's the hormone that regulates your sleep patterns and melatonin has also been linked to depression.
As the popular HBO show likes to say, Winter is coming”, and along with it, the potential for people to experience the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. For most people, the effects are temporary and mild; temporary because the subconscious usually reminds us that Spring is on the way and we can bear up under the stress until then, and mild for many reasons, partially because we know that Spring is on the way, but also it can stem from the fact that many of us love Winter, love the snow and inclement weather, and so we don’t understand how we can start to potentially resent that which we love, and a lot of people begin to question their own reasoning.
In more severe cases, the effects are harsher and more long term. For more answers as to why, we suggest you consult a professional, especially if you suspect you might be susceptible to the disorder. This is because we are not medical experts, and if your depression is more severe, it might be stemming from sources other than the season, but simply chose to manifest during this particular time of year. Again, see your doctor if you feel the onset of depression is severe and not mild, and if it feels like it won’t go away.
But if you’re one of the millions who experience the milder effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are a few things you can do to combat the Winter Blues.
Solutions For SAD
The most common solution is to get as much sunlight as possible. Most doctors suggest getting outside for 30 minutes and catching some rays in the morning. Standing in front of a window or driving doesn't cut it, because your retinas will not get enough light. If your schedule doesn't allow you to get out in the morning, light therapy boxes, exercise and eating certain foods can offer effective treatment for SAD.
Light Therapy Boxes
The go-to treatment for those with winter depression are light boxes that mimic the sun's beneficial rays. You can purchase these boxes without a prescription. You'll need to make sure they have the minimal amount of ultraviolet light and the proper light intensity (10,000 lux). Zap yourself in the morning for about 30 minutes every day. Your body clock will stay on its springtime cycle and your mood will start lifting from bad to good.
Even if it’s cold out, take some time to get out into the sunshine (don’t go out if the weather is bad, unless you’re one of those who likes to play in the snow. You know who you are.) Many people reading this have jobs where – during the winter – they get up before the sun rises, drive to their jobs, work inside all day, and get home after the sun sets, never having really seen the sun all day. If you have a job like this, take some time to get outside during your breaks, again, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The sun will do you good. If you absolutely can’t, take some time during your day off and get outside for a while.
Take A Sunny Vacation
Getting more southern sunlight in January and February is a great excuse to get out of town. Less than 1% of people who live near the equator are diagnosed with SAD. A week or two in Mexico could fix what ails you. It could be a little more fun than sitting in front of a lamp.
Take A Vitamin D Supplement
The sun is where we get most of our Vitamin D (absorbed through the skin from the sun’s rays). That particular vitamin has been shown to have an effect on a person’s mood. More vitamin D equals better mood, so if you’re not getting enough sunshine, pick up a vitamin D supplement at your local grocery store and take it daily.
Eat These Foods to Fight SAD
You can also fight seasonal affective disorder with a fork. Less sunlight leads to less vitamin D and less serotonin in the winter. When your brain makes Serotonin, your mood is lifted. Here are the foods that will help keep you happy.
Avocados are full of calming Tryptophan and mood-enhancing folate.
Antioxidants called flavonoids reduce stress-causing hormones. But, remember that your chocolate must contain at least 75 percent cocoa and unsweetened chocolate is the most effective.
Zinc is a mineral that regulates the metabolism and moderates blood-sugar levels. Eat eggs to fight fatigue with their high level of zinc.
Known as a great source of antioxidants, green tea can fight that depression with an amino acid called theanine. It's found in the tea leaves.
You should know that milk is loaded with vitamin D, protein and calcium which can chill your anxiety and mood.
Boost production of dopamine and serotonin by eating fatty fish like salmon and anchovies. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to fight depression.
Chase the blues away and eat folate-rich foods like kale, spinach or other leafy greens which are rich sources of folate and vitamin B12.
Having more folate than the regular potatoes, the sweet variety are also better at maintaining a steady blood-sugar level. Sweet potatoes will keep you from feeling run-down.
Get calm with turkey's tryptophan. It may even effectively convert vitamin D to serotonin.
CASH 1 wants you to stay warm and healthy, and especially happy this winter. If you find you’re suffering from the Winter financial blues, come see us for easy personal loans or Las Vegas Title Loans. We have services in Nevada and Arizona.
Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.
With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.
When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.