Kelly is an energetic high school student. She is efficient in her schoolwork and is involved in sports and after-school clubs. Lately though, since Thanksgiving, Kelly has had trouble finding motivation to keep up with her busy high school life. She naps more often, puts off homework assignments and chooses to some of her club meetings. When Kelly’s behavior continued, her parents took her to a doctor and she was diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder.
School drags, junk food never tasted so good and mornings come too quickly.. have you been stuck in a rut this Winter and not sure why? Seasonal depression could be your answer. Cold temperatures, less sunlight and more time stuck inside make the winter season feel endless. A type of depression, called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is triggered during seasonal changes. The winter-onset is the most popular and results in fatigue, moodiness, a change in appetite, sleepiness and overall irritability. Symptoms usually peak during the middle of winter and taper off in the end, completely disappearing in the beginning of Spring . Onsets of seasonal depression also occur in the Spring and Summer but are much less common.
So how can you stay warm? There are a few things you can do to beat winter depression.
Get Active- Staying physically active throughout winter will help raise endorphins while keeping stress and anxiety levels to a minimum.
Go Outdoors- Aim for 20-30 minutes of time spent outside. It may be cold but the fresh air can help you feel less isolated inside. Also, interactions with the Sun will increase your vitamin D levels. Take a walk or drink hot tea in your backyard!
Eat Healthy- A symptom of SAD is eating a lot of carbohydrates, particularly those full of sugar. The saying ‘eat good, feel good’ really applies in the winter! Aim for high protein foods to keep you full and energized!
New Hobby- Staying inside can get boring but it provides plenty of time to practice a new hobby. Try an instrument or start crafting.
Other treatments include light therapy. If your doctor recommends this, sitting by a special light for a specific amount of time each day can help relieve symptoms.