I am a bit of a freak… I love the cold and I love the snow…BUT I do not love the concept of daylight savings time. Dark when I leave for work and dark when I come home from work.
This means that my daughter who often suffers from depression on a sunny day now has to deal with the shorter days and the longer nights as well.
We are spending less time outside, getting less fresh air, getting less sunshine and doing fewer activities that are often healthier than the ones we do sitting indoors. When we do get outside the trees are a bit less colorful than what greets us in the summer and springtime and fall. That is if they have any leaves at all.
Even our dogs seem a bit down on these short days of winter.
As most of you know by now I have a daughter that deals with depression in all four seasons, but we have noticed that it does often get worse in the winter. There is an actual name for this type of seasonal depression. Read on.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Not everyone who hates the short winter days will actually have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Keep in mind that it’s normal to feel a little bit more down during the cooler darker winter months. But if those seasonal mood changes leave you feeling depressed most of the day nearly every day or preventing you from doing your work and activities, those may be signs of a depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
This is a type of depression known to cause mood changes with the change of seasons.
According to Mayo Clinic some signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
The only way to know for sure that you are dealing with SAD is to go see your doctor if you have symptoms that are interfering with your daily life.
Sunlight Needed (Or a Light Box)
Winter months come with fewer hours of natural light and fewer sunny days overall. Less light affects our mood because our bodies need sunlight to produce vitamin D, which appears to help with functioning of parts of the brain. These parts are the areas of the brain that regulate mood and well-being.
There are now Light Boxes available to help people cope with the lack of sunlight. They make them just for people who suffer with SAD.
Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp is one example of such a lamp. In fact, this one is not only Amazon Choice option but was also featured on my favorite show SHARK TANK:
This product provides the recommended 10,000 LUX brightness for effective light therapy to help beat the winter blues, regulate sleep, fight fatigue, boost mood, and improve focus. Our lamps produce high-quality light with the right qualities – Pure-white color of the noonday sun (5500K), full-spectrum, and free of unwanted UV rays.
Now that is a lot to live up to but the reviews are great.
Benefits of BRIGHT Light Therapy
Maintains a Healthy Sleep-Wake Cycle | Light keeps your internal clock on a healthy 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, helping you feel more awake during the day and to fall asleep better at night.
Improves Mood | Using light to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm can have positive effects on your mood.
Helps Concentration | Daytime exposure to bright light can suppress melatonin levels, decrease sleepiness, increase alertness, and improve performance.
Boosts Energy | Bright light can improve alertness, fight fatigue, and reduce tiredness by stimulating the body’s natural response to light.
Feel free to go check out these Light Therapy Lamps by clicking here…BRIGHT
Consider taking vitamin D when you turn back your clocks…in our home when we change the clocks back we change the batteries in our smoke detectors AND boost the Vitamin D.
IF you’re feeling particularly sunshine-deprived, consider daily vitamin D supplements, Most health care providers recommend for adults to take one 2,000 IU supplement per day (though it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement).
Amazon sells tons of different types of Vitamins that you can get delivered directly to your front door.
I especially like the OLLY Sunny Vitamin D Gummy.
Take signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it’s not treated.
These can include:
- Social withdrawal
- School or work problems
- Substance abuse
- Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
I know that my daughter has depression and anxiety on a regular basis, but the winter for us is especially rough.
Pay attention to the signs and symptoms and seek help if you think this type of Depression is affecting your daily life.
There is help out there.
Keep on fighting the good fight