The cold days grow farther apart, flowers push up past dead leaves, and birds begin their happy songs. Spring has finally arrived!
Although nature shows obvious signs of responding to the change in seasons, what about sufferers of SAD? Can they expect some relief from winter's end?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression aptly named. As the fall and winter months approach, a sufferer's mood deteriorates. As the colder months and shorter days recede, and warmer, longer days approach, the sufferer's mood improves. Like a flower bulb that lies dormant during the winter, a person affected by SAD typically focuses on surviving until the winter months have ended. This is a necessity to maintain even a semblance of health as the symptoms are varied and can be debilitating without attempting to manage them. Symptoms of SAD include:
- Low energy, Fatigue
- Irritability, Sensitivity
- Weight gain (as a result of craving more carbohydrates)
Living with these symptoms for months can be quite taxing, so the arrival of spring and thus a reprieve from SAD is a welcome change. But just as the symptoms of SAD usually worsen gradually as winter progresses, the reversal of these symptoms is gradual too. The reversal of these symptoms is typified by:
- Increased energy as the days lengthen.
- Mood stabilization increases daily.
- Cravings for carbohydrates weaken, eventually normalize.
- Sluggishness and anxiety lessen considerably.
- Sleep patterns improve and quality of sleep may increase considerably.
- Get as much sunshine as possible – open your blinds and curtains, sit outside in the sunshine when you can.
- Start taking advantage of your lessened cravings by flooding your fridge with wholesome fruits and veggies.
- Drink plenty of water to help your system recover from months of lethargy.
- SAD tends to disrupt your normal sleep pattern, so begin regulating your sleep and waking times.
- If you've been sluggish during the colder months, begin a moderate exercise routine to get out of your physical slump. If you are a beginner to regular exercise, try a daily walk, a seated aerobic routine, or a few easy stretch-and-breathe routines.
From those of us who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter is not a wonderland. Instead, it is a time of year filled with dread and a longing for warmer, brighter days. As spring arrives, take advantage of your body's natural reaction to the new season! Enjoy the feeling of your SAD symptoms drifting away.