Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke. I never really noticed I get the blahs until I moved to Pennsylvania. I’ve always lived in warm sunny states. During the fall, winter, and spring months, I feel blah and uninterested in most activities.
Our first year living in PA, I distinctly remember shoveling snow in late April, telling my husband it is not supposed to snow in the spring. I remember asking him why anyone would choose to live in a state where you had to shovel in April. I’m pretty sure I was ranting because we obviously chose to live in a state where I had to shovel in April. I remember being frustrated that I had to wear my winter coat at the end of May.
May!!! It’s ludicrous!
Now that I’ve lived here for four years, I know what to expect and those things don’t bother me as much. Unfortunately, I still get the symptoms every year.
So, what is SAD?
SAD is a type of depression that occurs when the season changes. It usually affects people in either the fall/winter months or spring/summer months.
Typical symptoms include:
Loss of interest
Sleep loss (spring/summer)
Sleeping too much (fall/winter)
High appetite (fall/winter)
Low appetite (spring/summer)
Weight gain (fall/winter)
Weight loss (spring/summer)
Feeling blah (fall/winter)
Feeling anxiety (spring/summer)
Negative feelings such as guilt or hopelessness
Thoughts of death and suicide
When to get help
It can be confusing to understand the difference between feeling blah and straight up depression. It’s best to seek help when you feel you need help and if any of your symptoms have been lasting for long periods of time and/or interrupt your normal activities and routines. Also, seek help if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope or you have thoughts of death or suicide.
Ways to treat SAD
There are many ways to treat minor symptoms of SAD.
Continue normal routine and activities
Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and fats
Up your vitamin D intake
If you’re unable to find fresh produce, eat frozen produce
For fall/winter SAD, plan a vacation somewhere warm and sunny
Spend time with pets
Declutter your home
Spend time outdoors
Spend time in the sun and open all blinds and curtains
Engage in activities you enjoy
Consistent sleep schedule
Speak to a profession or attend therapy
Do you have any tips on how to deal with SAD?