During winter many people get S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a kind of depression that follows the seasons. Most people are affected during winter months, when days are shorter, they don't spend as much time in the outdoors, they get less bright sunlight into their eyes, and some exercise less. In the U.S. about 5% of the population is afflicted with this every year, while another 40% are usually afflicted with a mild case of it. The farther north one goes, the more likely they are to be affected by it, and the older one gets, the less they have it.
- change in appetite, usually an increased sweet or starchy food craving
- weight gain
- drop in energy level
- "heavy" feeling in arms and legs
- difficulty concentrating
- increased fatigue and tiredness
- tendency to oversleep
- increased sensitivity to social rejection
- avoidance of social situations - not wanting to go out
There are some fairly simple methods to solving S.A.D.
Light therapy: Using a full-spectrum light is very effective to stop the problem. Place the lamp at a 90◦ angle to your face, for about 30 minutes each day, in the mornings. Don't look directly into it, just keep it on your desk to the side, as you work.
Here's a good one that isn't very expensive:
NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp, only $56 through Amazon.com.
Exercise: While you may not feel like getting up and exercising, it's going to do wonders for your happiness levels, along with your health. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking, eliptical riding, kick-boxing, salsa/jazzercise/zumba, skiing, etc. is all it takes. Start first thing in the morning, after getting hydrated with pure water and maybe an herbal green tea.
Essential oils: Jasmine, frankincense, peppermint, rosemary, and lemon are all good oils to breath in from a diffuser, for quick brain stimulation of blood flow and activity in the limbic regions and emotional areas of the brain, bringing on a feeling of happiness. Lemon essential oil also has been shown to reduce stress when inhaled.
Proper Diet: Our subconscious may tell us that we'll get a 'happy hit' if we eat sugary, high carbohydrate, or starchy foods. That because when we eat them, Serotonin, a hormone made in the brain, is released, which makes us feel happy.
This leads to a cycle of addiction, and only worsens the problem. Serotonin is made from the amino acid Tryptophan. Rather than grabbing carbohydrates high in sugars, supplement with Tryptophan. Here's one I recommend: http://www.vitacost.com/source-naturals-l-tryptophan-500-mg-120-capsules.
Be sure to eat fresh vegetables for reducing S.A.D., increasing health, and keeping the pounds off. A delicious salad filled with fresh spinach, kale, lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and any other watery vegetables you want to throw on will do wonders for everything in your body and emotions. If you must use a salad dressing, I recommend one made from healthy oils and herbs, like Newman's Own. Or try fresh salsa or an herb and bell pepper purea over the top.
Fresh Air: One final thing that will boost your happiness and keep S.A.D. away is getting fresh air every day. We tend to stay cooped up in our homes, offices, and stores during winter months, with recycled air. Get out and breathe deeply in fresh air places (not polluted down town smog) as much as possible. Inside, keep plants around that thrive on breathing in polluted air and expelling fresh air that's nourishing to us. These plants include: English Ivy, Peace Lilly, Lady Palm, Boston Fern, Snake Plant, Wax Begonia, Dracaena, and two very easy to grow, the Spider Plant, and Pothos. Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh, wonderful air for a happier outlook.
Being S.A.D. isn't just a state of mind, it's actually chemistry.
Follow these steps, and you'll be happier right away!
Raylene Jorgenson has a doctorate in Natural Health, and coaches people for making lasting improvements to their health and their lives naturally.
Essential Oils desk reference 5th Ed., Life Science Publishing Pp 5.54