Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a mood disorder characterized by depressive symptoms related to the lack of natural light, occurring during fall or winter, and that can last until the following spring.
Symptoms of seasonal depression are similar to those of basic depression, and include reduction of energy level, loss of interest, or isolation. However, contrary to regular depression, seasonal depression may also increase appetite, particularly a craving for starchy foods and sugar.
That type of mood disorder particularly affects women. In Canada, approximately 18% of people experience a winter depression, characterized by lack of energy, and moral fragility.
You think you may be suffering from seasonal depression? Here are five tips to prevent it.
1. Soak up some sun
Even if the weather is cold, try to spend some time outside during sunny hours. Sunlight has a direct effect of our mood, by blocking the synthesis of a specific hormone, melatonin. Let the sunlight penetrate your home as much as possible by removing any clutter obstructing your windows, and by opening curtains and drapes as wide as possible.
2. Practice a winter sport
Sporting activity has an anti-depressant effect. If you combine it to a dose of sunlight, the effects will be optimal.
3. Try light therapy
Light therapy consists in exposing the eyes to a light imitating sunlight. The special light therapy lamp is to be used in the morning, so you start your day with a renewed energy.
4. Put sunlight into your plate
A poor diet increases the risk of depression, while eating fruit, vegetable, and fish will have the opposite effect.
5. Seek professional help
Sometimes, professional assistance might be of help, and you must not be afraid to seek it. Do not hesitate to contact your employee assistance program. They will refer you to the appropriate resource in complete confidentiality!