It’s that time of the year. The time when friendly fall weather fades into frigid winter temperatures, cuing scarves and puffy coats, hot cocoa and cozy fires. And bringing with it millions of cases of seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder—appropriately known as SAD—is season-related depression, most commonly triggered during the transition from fall to winter. If you’re feeling drained of energy, or if your mood errs on the side of irritability more often than not, don’t simply write it off as a case of the winter blues. You may be suffering from SAD.
The symptoms of SAD are not unlike the symptoms of clinical depression, and include:
• Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
• Lack of interest in hobbies or other enjoyable activities
• Fatigue or low energy levels
• Oversleeping, or changes to normal sleep patterns
• Weight gain and appetite changes, specifically craving high-carbohydrate foods
• Difficulty concentrating
Seasonal affective disorder can be treated with phototherapy, ketamine infusions and other medications, and psychotherapy. However, keeping your mood and motivation steady throughout the entire year can help ward off SAD and keep the winter blues at bay altogether. Here are some scientifically-proven ways to wonderfully boost your winter mood:
1. Get indoor daylight. Position your workspace by a window or under a skylight, if possible. Go out of your way to allow as much natural sunlight to hit you as possible.
2. Get outside. Bundle up and get some real, direct, natural, unfiltered sunlight. Even the sunlight you’ll get on a cloudy day is more intense than sunlight coming through a window. Commit to taking a walk after lunch and soak up the sunshine and good vibes.
3. Exercise. It’s no secret that exercise is a natural mood booster and powerful antidepressant. If you can get a mid-day run or hike in, or ski on the weekends, you’ll reap the benefits of getting sunlight, too. Hitting the gym before or after work will also help. Get that dopamine flowing!
4. Get plenty of vitamin D. Some studies show a connection between vitamin D depletion and SAD. Take a supplement and make sure to get plenty of sunlight—it’s the best way to replenish your body’s stores of vitamin D, since it cannot be absorbed from our diet alone.
5. Take a vacation. When all else fails, escape to warm weather and sunny skies. Even just a few days is enough to take the edge off the winter blues and get you through to spring.
Colorado offers some of the most exciting winter activities of anywhere in the country, but if you’re struggling to find the motivation to get out of the house for a day of skiing or snowshoeing, talk to your physician. You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder.
If seasonal affective disorder is preventing you from living a fulfilling life, contact Vitalitas Denver and learn more about how ketamine infusions could help. Ketamine infusions are highly effective, especially as a treatment for short-term depressive conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder or postpartum depression. Complete the brief form below and a member of our clinical team will answer questions, address concerns and get you started on a path towards health and wellbeing.