Are you affected by SAD?
We have all heard of SAD – (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and given our location here in Canada, we may be starting to see the effects.
Research reported by the Canadian Mental Health Association suggests that between 2% and 3% of Ontario’s population may have SAD. Another 15% have a less severe experience described as the “winter blues.’
The symptoms of SAD may start to creep up as the days get shorter and we are experiencing fewer hours of light. Some natural ways to support mood can include;
Many people tend to gravitate to carbohydrates to help improve their mood, but the benefits are usually short lived, resulting in energy crash. Choosing a diet of complex carbohydrates will support serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter) production. Regular protein consumption will also support energy balance.
Light stimulation upon waking is key for individuals affected by SAD. Light has been linked to normalizing serotonin function within the body. Strategies that can be used include waking up and walking outside for 20 minutes each morning. Light boxes can also be utilized with a brightness of up to 10,000 lux to help combat the winter blues.
We all tend to feel better after getting up and moving around. Research has demonstrated that midday exercise can improve symptoms of SAD. Making these changes can be as simple as getting out for a walk on your lunch hour. Not only will you feel better physically your mood will be uplifted as well.
Naturopathic Doctors have many strategies to help support mood all year long. We can look at your health history and help to uncover origins of stress and low spirits, with a individualized treatment plan.
The information above is for educational and informational purposes, and does not constitute a diagnosis or treatment. Follow up with a health care professional for individual treatment.
Canadian Mental Health Association
Eagles, J.M. Light therapy and seasonal affective disorder, Psychiatry 8:4