Summer turns to fall, the leaves change colors, the cold gets colder and then fall turns into winter. The season changes can bring some small changes in your life, such as heavier coats and fluffier scarves. But the seasons evolving can also bring a change to yourself that can leave you thinking you have the winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is more than just a funk that the cold weather put you in. SAD is a subtype of depression that comes and goes based on the seasons. Most people experience the onset of SAD during the fall season and continues all the way through out the winter. Symptoms often include irritability, oversleeping, appetite changes, and a heavy feeling in arms or legs. It's normal to feel down for a day or two, but if these symptoms persist, it could be something more and shouldn't be brushed off as the blues.
SAD tends to be more prevalent in young adults, making college kids most prone to feeling more holiday blues than holiday spirit.
SAD is just as serious as any of form of depression. Some lifestyle changes can be made to help treat SAD such as regular exercise and making sure you get plenty of natural light. Also, light therapy boxes can often provide much relief for those suffering from SAD. Another great way to fight off SAD would be to create a schedule that you can stick to, it will help your body stay regulated and make it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.
Seeing a therapist to talk about your feelings of depression can also help many people come to terms with their feelings and figure out the best way to treat them.
And if you're lucky enough to kick the cold weather to the curb and find some sun and sand, that is also a great way to alleviate SAD symptoms.
So, if the cold weather seems to bring overwhelming feelings of sadness and a lack of motivation- you're not alone. Assess your symptoms and decide what the best treatment for you is.