Ever had that experience where you’re studying inside in the morning, and the next thing you know, it’s 5 o’clock and it’s pitch black outside? Despite the fact that you still have plenty of time left in your day, the darkness can make you feel like the day is already done.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a depression that occurs seasonally, often around late fall and winter, when the days get shorter. It is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, irritability, tiredness, and disinterest. You may also have difficulties with sleep- whether it be sleeping too much, or not being able to sleep at all.
SAD is often thought to be a result of lack of sunlight. Which makes sense, especially in the winter seasons. In Canada, 2-3% of the population will experience SAD in their lifetime, but 15% of Canadians will experience a milder form of SAD. Despite this, there are a number of different methods to cope with symptoms of SAD.
- Light Therapy. Light Therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of SAD in just a few days. The light imitates sunlight, making your body produce the chemicals it improves mood. 60-80% of people experience substantial benefits from light therapy. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor before trying any treatments.
- Medication. If your SAD is really debilitating, there are medications that can help with your symptoms. Medications can address different kinds of depression in many different ways. Talk to your doctor if you feel like this may be right for you.
- Counselling. Counselling can be an effective method to address symptoms of SAD, or other symptoms of depression. If you feel like this may be right for you, reach out to Counselling Services.
- Self-Care. It sounds really difficult, especially when you’re experiencing symptoms of SAD, but self-care habits such as healthy diet and exercise can help you maintain an improved mood. Maybe light therapy or medication has helped you feel a little better, try to reach out to others, take some work out classes or learn some new healthy recipes to further improve your mood. If you want to preventsymptoms of SAD, creating a habit of exercising or eating well may help reduce symptoms before they even come.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday. Stay safe, Warriors!