Dealing with SAD

– Heather Ah San

Late fall and winter in Eugene marks the beginning of the long boughs of cold and rainy weather. Endless days of grey skies and frigid weather can make just about anyone grumpy, tired or feeling down.  But some people suffer from the winter blues a little bit more severely than others.

This might be the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s tied to certain seasons of the year. Most people with SAD show all the signs of depression during the fall and winter months.

In North America alone, 6 percent of the population suffers from SAD. It is most commonly seen among young adult men and women, though some people do suffer from it in the spring or summer.

Depression, anxiety, loss of energy and oversleeping are among some of the symptoms. Though it can be serious, often times SAD can be prevented or treated at home, or through therapy.

Here are some tips on SAD treatment and prevention:

– Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday walking, running, playing a sport, or even just soaking in the great outdoors. And take advantage of the rare days filled with sunshine, it will brighten your mood instantly.

– Increase the brightness of your indoor light fixtures.

– Use a light box before you feel the effects of SAD (compact light boxes can be purchased online).

– Exercise can keep energy level up.

– Eat a well-balanced diet, with healthy carbohydrates and protein to keep energy high. Avoid starches and sweets.

– Be active – join a club, take a dance class, go rock climbing, whatever suits your fancy.

– Stay social – friends are the best way to keep the winter blues at bay. Rhyming helps too.

– Take light therapy classes through a health center or counseling center.

– Try counseling if SAD symptoms persist or worsen.

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