As we near the start of winter, the days grow shorter. There is less light. The colder weather makes staying inside curled up on the sofa easier than getting outside and moving your body. All of these in combination can lead to a decrease in mental and emotional health or even contribute to SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What is SAD? SAD is a type of depression and is often triggered in late fall or early winter. The symptoms can be as mild as low energy or not feeling like yourself or as severe as loss of interest in activities, problems sleeping, feeling sad or depressed most of the day, changes in appetite, social and emotional distancing (withdraws or hibernating), weight gain, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, feelings of hopelessness or increased negative self-image and even thoughts of death or suicide.

If you are experiencing one or many of these symptoms your body and emotions are sending you a message… it is time to get support. SAD can be supported through mental health practitioners trained to diagnose and treat depression, changes in diet, exercise and even other lifestyle changes that either a life coach or wellness coach can help you with.

Here are a few things that can lead to SAD or at the very least worsen SAD symptoms:

  1. Vitamin D defficiency
  2. Poor diet
  3. Poor sleeping habits
  4. Not getting outdoors enough in the daylight
  5. Chronic stress

Here are a few resources and actions that may benefit you:

  1. Taking vitamin D supplements (always be sure to run this by your doctor to ensure the correct dosage for your body)
  2. Spend 30 minutes per day outdoors in the sunlight
  3. Avoid alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods
  4. Get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day
  5. Consider working with a mental health nutrition expert
  6. Get emotional support from loved ones
  7. Get tools to address SAD by working with a therapist or mental health practitioner – to schedule a session online with one of the mental health practitioners on the ModiHealth platform click HERE

Get Immediate Help Now…

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.