You’d think that at this time of year, during the holiday season, everyone would be “up” in their moods – happy, looking forward to celebrations with friends and family, etc. But we all know this is not always the case! In fact, seasonal depression is a very real phenomenon for many people, especially at year’s end and into the new year.
Have you ever heard the acronym, SAD? Well, it stands for a couple of things – it can mean the standard American diet (i.e., lots of junk food laced with chemicals), but it can also mean seasonal affective disorder. This can be impacted by the fact that for many of us, there is not as much sun in many parts of the word (with its life- and good mood-giving Vitamin D).
Here are a few risk factors associated with seasonal affective disorder: if you have blood relatives with depression, if you’re female (we get this four times more than men according to statistics), if you’re an adult between 18 and 30, and if you live in an area of the country with fewer daylight hours during winter (think New York and others).
You may feel sleepy during the daytime or have a pretty consistent sad mood. You may lose interest in your normal activities, and not feel very good about yourself. You may either sleep late or perhaps you’re not sleeping as much as usual. You may find yourself gaining weight (compensating with food?), and you may even have thoughts of harming yourself.
If that seems to describe you, then don’t despair – there are many things you can do to get out from under this burden and change your mood and general outlook on life in a more positive direction!
Here are a few tips to help:
- There are special light lamps available which have been shown to be helpful. They are not terribly expensive, either.
- Make sure you take Vitamin D supplements to get your blood levels up (work with a competent health care practitioner).
- Try to eliminate or at least reduce junk food intake – sugar can contribute to depression, as can especially wheat (the kind we use) and other starchy foods. (Please know that all delicious dishes can be made with safer ingredients.)
- If you can, try to get a DNA SNP test with a practitioner, and see if you’re genetically wired for depression. Then certain supplements will be helpful to take to neutralize this genetic expression, together with an improved, healthy diet.
- Herbs such as rhodiola, St. John’s Word, and saffron may be helpful.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for many (think fish oil or cod liver oil).
- NAC – (N-acetylcysteine), a precursor to L-cysteine and glutathione (amino acids) can help, often by reducing inflammatory markers.
- B vitamins have also been shown to be helpful and play a role in the regulation of neurotransmitters (think serotonin).
- Zinc, a mineral, is also key to regulating neurotransmitter pathways.
- There are some physicians who give vitamin infusions, and these can also be tremendously helpful.
Find out what works for you. Remember, just popping a few vitamins may not be enough. The best approach is
. Take action and get well – you can do this!
For more detailed information, visit Health And Wellness
And, as always, I wish you a happy, holistically healthy day.