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Seasonal Affective Disorder – Tips To Beat the Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

 

The Winter Blues

 

It’s January, again, and it’s cold, the days are too short and most of the time dreary.  Once Christmas is over, I find that I start to feel tired and not so merry anymore.  I literally mean it, when I take the tree, the decorations and the lights down, I get into a real funk.  I feel tired, I can’t concentrate and I don’t feel the happiness I did in December.  Getting ready for Christmas was a busy time but at least I had the energy to shop, clean and cook.  Now, I could care less if I did any of those things. This isn’t normal for me, I am the type of person who takes great pride in keeping an organized home, cooking with love for my family and being on top of everything.  After some research, I found out I am not alone in this slump I am feeling. 

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real and up to 15% of Canadians will experience some form of SAD in their lifetime.  Maybe you are wondering what SAD really is?  SAD is a form of depression that occurs in the Fall or Winter months.  Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are fatigue during those winter months, loss of interest in their regular activities, weight gain and craving carbohydrate foods. 

What causes SAD?  Well, to be honest, there isn’t any known cause for SAD but it is a proven fact that the people who live in the northern countries are more prone to SAD.  Being that our days are shorter and our exposure to the sun is very limited at this time of the year is one reason.  SAD also tends to run in the family.  This I know to be true, my sister also has the same symptoms as I do during this time of the year.  It makes sense, I am full of energy all summer long, even during the Fall and early winter months I feel great.  It’s always during the month of January and February that I feel run down and out of sorts. 

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Tips to help beat those blues

 

What can you do to help reduce the symptoms of SAD?  Well, I have a few tips that I have tried and DO work if you keep at it. 

–  Because SAD is known to affect people north of the border due to lack of sunshine during winter months, getting outside when it is bright and sunny will definitely make you feel better.  If you work indoors, try getting outside at lunch for a quick walk.  Leave the sunglasses off!  Don’t block the sun’s rays when you are out walking, you need the full benefit of the sun to help you feel better. 

–  Use a full spectrum light.  I have changed my regular light bulbs for the full spectrum bulbs in my kitchen because I can be sure that I will get my 15 minutes of light that way.  Keep them on during the darker hours in early evening will give you the same benefits as the sunshine will. 

–  Remember your vitamin D!  It is so important for everyone in Canada to make sure they take vitamin D.  Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, meaning we get our vitamin D from the sun naturally, but that’s only in the summer months here in Canada.  You need to have your skin exposed to the sun for 15 minutes a day to get your daily D but our sun isn’t strong enough in the winter, so we need to take the supplement. 

–  Exercise is important all year round, but really is needed through those long winter days for energy.  I have a hard time being motivated into anything when I feel tired and down but making exercise, especially if it’s outdoors, a priority, makes me feel so much better. 

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Do you suffer from SAD?  What tips have you tried that work?

Disclosure:  Having one or more of above mentioned symptoms doesn’t guarantee you are suffering from SAD.  See your doctor if you are concerned with feelings of depression, fatigue or other symptoms you don’t feel are normal for you.  This article is to share my story and what I did to help myself, it is not intended as medical advice.
 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Amy
    Friday,January 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for the great tips!! The winter days can seem really long – I am dreaming of spring and sunshine 🙂

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Friday,January 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Your welcome Amy. You and me both 🙂 anything that can help is worth a try.

  • Reply
    MapleMouseMama
    Friday,January 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Unfortunately I am only too familiar with depression and how it feels. I do believe that SAD is a real issue for many people, they just don’t realize it. Your tips are wonderful and I hope that many people can benefit..

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Friday,January 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I certainly relate to you. It’s a hard road so anything we can do to help ourselves is great. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Van Huss
    Friday,January 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t think I have SAD but I do get blue more often in the winter time! I think I need to up my Vit D Thanks for the reminder!

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Saturday,January 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Thanks Jennifer and happy to help 🙂 Spring is around the corner!

  • Reply
    Randa @ The Bewitchin' Kitchen
    Saturday,January 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I have heard about vitamin D helping with it. I’m lacking vitamin D, I need to start supplementing.

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Saturday,January 18, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Randa, vitamin D works wonders! Let me know how it goes. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine Lee-McNaughton
    Saturday,January 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Great tips! Yes, doctors up here in the North tell their patients to make sure to take their vitamin D. I’m guessing it’s the same all over Canada,where Winters are especially long. Summer’s different…we’re outside all the time and get our vitamin D — plenty of sunshine. Thanks for a helpful post. I know some people who have SAD. I’ll make sure to pass this on.

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Sunday,January 19, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Thank you Christine! SAD is very controllable when care is taken to add vitamin D, some real sunshine and indoor lighting.

  • Reply
    Brandee H
    Wednesday,January 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    This year I have made sure to take extra Vitamin D. It is so dreary this year!! Great tips!

    • Reply
      Dawn Trudeau
      Saturday,February 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Vitamin D is very important, thank you Brandee!

  • Reply
    cgrandy823
    Friday,December 4, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Like you, after Christmas, I noticed a lack of energy and motivation. I thought I was just tired from all the Christmas rush, but it lasted and lasted. Maybe it’s SAD. This year I’ve started taking Vitamin D. I hope it helps.

    • Reply
      Dawn
      Thursday,December 10, 2015 at 9:22 am

      I am doing a lot of research and interviewing experts to get more help with SAD and I will be chatting about it online, I hope it can help you.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Matthiesen
    Friday,December 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I’m also taking Vitamins these days, hoping to ward of illnesses and help my old bones and joints. Some great tips here, thanks for this blog post Dawn 🙂

    • Reply
      Dawn
      Tuesday,December 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Vitamins, especially D, is necessary for bones and general health. My pleasure Liz!

  • Reply
    SueSueper
    Tuesday,December 15, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    This time of year is coming up again. We do need more light. I must stock up on vitamin D.

    • Reply
      Dawn
      Tuesday,December 15, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Sue, I am feeling it more this year than most. We have no snow, lots of rain and dark days. It’s really taking a tole. Vitamin D def helps!

  • Reply
    Brenda Penton
    Saturday,December 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Love all these tips! I never knew about full spectrum bulbs before! I need to get some. I have the SAD lamp but honesty hate having that in my face every morning.

    • Reply
      Dawn
      Saturday,December 19, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      I have the full spectrum bulbs in my kitchen so I can reap the benefits while I cook. Especially great in the mornings, its so dark now.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    Monday,December 21, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I usually don’t have any issues when it comes to winter blues but I do hate when we get snow, then its gone again. If its going to snow, let it come and stay. We will have a green Christmas this year I think because so far no white stuff which is fine with me. Less for hubby to go out and shovel. My father hated winter so bad and I used to laugh but he said when you are my age you will hate it too. Now I know what he meant. I hate being cold.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Matthiesen
    Friday,January 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Super tips for those who suffer from winter blues, luckily I don’t seem to, though I will readily admit to feeling much happier on trips to Florida on seeing colours in the landscape 🙂

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