Winter and SAD

SADIf shorter days, longer nights and snow are part of your year you have probably heard of SAD, know of someone who is affected by SAD or have been affected yourself. What is SAD? SAD is a mood disorder, which typically begins to rear its ugly head in the fall and lasts till the spring. Symptoms of SAD include: depression, hopelessness, overeating, oversleeping, loss of interest in social activities, anxiety, weight gain, and feeling run down to name a few. SAD for the winter is believed to be triggered by less exposure to sunlight.  It is also possible that vitamin D has in impact in depression. According to Stats Canada 2010 two thirds of Canadians do not get enough vitamin D.

What to do?

Part of what to do was outlined in last week’s blog about goals setting. Setting goals specific to planning for the winter is extremely helpful for combating SAD. I strongly recommend you find a winter specific activity. Finding an activity that can only be done in the winter increases your passion for the winter. Possibilities could be trying a winter sport like hockey, curling, skiing (in it’s many forms), skating or tobogganing. Any form of exercise helps to boost endorphins and aid in building positive mood. Taking a class by yourself or with a friend helps to get out of the house, it’s a plan and a commitment to yourself and others.

Medication is an option that many people take to help them through the winter months. Whether you are taking over the counter or prescription medication, talking to your doctor and pharmacist is important to ensure that it’s done safely and effectively.  Some alternatives to prescriptions are St. Johns Wort (interacts with birth control pills), vitamin D, chamomile and lavender for anxiety and light lamps. Vitamin D can be helpful and has few side effects. Light lamps are used to help people get back some of the benefits of summer sunlight. There are many different varieties of light lamps and they range in cost; your doctor may be able to guide you in the best product and light dosage.

Winter may not be your favourite season, but you can still enjoy a few cherished moments till the thaw

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