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December is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Awareness Month

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. It most commonly begins in late fall. Daylight savings time may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be more than winter blues or a seasonal “funk.” It is a very real type of depression. Treatment options can include psychotherapy, medications, and even light box therapy.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • low energy
  • depressed mood
  • hopelessness
  • irritability or anxiety
  • poor concentration
  • social withdrawl
  • changes in sleep and/or appetite
  • loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

  What can you do about it?

  • Structure. Go to bed at a regular time, and get enough rest. Give focus to eating healthy meals on a regular schedule.
  • Make your environment brighter when you can. Open blinds, and sit closer to bright windows.
  • Get outside. Go for a walk, take your lunch outside, take short breaks throughout your day and enjoy the sunshine.
  • Exercise. A regular exercise routine can help with stress relief, and being more fit can help to increase self esteem. Plus, exercise increases levels in your brain of the same chemicals used in anti-depressant medications!
  • Socialize. Connect with the people you enjoy being around.
  • Take a trip. Make an effort to plan for vacations during the winter months when possible.

We all have tough days and times when life presents us with an increase in overall stress. It’s ok to have a bad day. However, SAD is a type of depression, and if your symptoms do not improve, or even worsen, it may be time to seek professional support.

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