It’s officially fall, y’all. Some of us are happier than others about this.
As the leaves change colors, moods change too. Seasonal depression goes into effect, a widespread mental health condition that affects nearly 15 million Americans. The drop in temperature contributes to feeling down, gloomy and unmotivated. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to treat the seasonal affective disorder.
According to Allina Health by Dr. Alan Steed, “Exercise is beneficial for anyone who is suffering from depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being.”
Some people prefer working out in fall because the lower temperatures prevent overheating, but exercising in the cold isn’t ideal for everyone. If you dislike cooler weather, you can still exercise indoors; sweat it up in the gym or do some at-home workouts. Following along with an exercise video on YouTube is a great alternative.
Doctors also recommend getting more vitamin D in our diets.
“Vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of depression,” dietician Shahzadi Devje said.
You can thank the sun for the ample amount of vitamin D, but as seasons change and the sunshine begins to fade, you get less than the normal amount. To supplement the loss of sunlight, vitamin D is available at your local pharmacy or drugstore.
Creating a consistent sleep schedule will reduce the effects of seasonal depression. Sleep deprivation is harmful to one’s body.
“Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases, ” Dr. Abhinav Singh said. “Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly and process memories.”
Not getting enough sleep can heavily impact your mood. On top of the effects of seasonal depression, getting less than eight hours of sleep is detrimental to changes in moods.
The human body produces melatonin based on day and night cycles. When there is darkness, the brain produces melatonin to help the body sleep. Sunlight triggers the brain to stop melatonin production, helping you feel alert and awake.
According to HelpGuide, “During the short days and long nights of winter, however, your body may produce too much melatonin, leaving you feeling drowsy and low on energy.”
Another way to help ease the impacts of seasonal affective disorder is to increase the natural light inside your living space. Open those blinds; sit by a window and bask in the sun. Even during shorter days during fall and winter, any sunlight can boost your mood.
Seasonal depression is real, yet it is treatable. It has its dreary impacts, yet it is only temporary with the seasons changing. There is always hope when it comes to feeling better.