A lot of us feel the ‘winter blahs’ this time of year. We feel more irritable, fatigued, sad, and we have issues with sleep. Sometimes this is diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What is seasonal Affective Disorder?
- SAD is a mental disorder that causes a serious mood change once the weather changes, but are otherwise mentally healthy throughout the year
- It may present as depression, difficulties with sleep (too much or too little), craving for carbohydrates, withdrawal from social activities, lack of energy and difficulty concentrating
- It can affect children, especially girls
- It affects 2-6% of Canadians, but a further 15% of us experience behavioural changes in the winter months
- The further North you live, the more likely you are of being affected
Fortunately, less complex symptoms of the ‘winter blues’ can be easily managed by two methods:
1. Using lighting that produces 2,500 lux, which has been shown to help improve mood. Many units now sell at 10,000 lux with minimal, transient side effects.
2. Nutritionally. We can help symptoms of SAD by including:
- Vitamin D. Look for supplements that are in the form of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is what our body produces when exposed to sunlight. 35 IU per lb. of body weight is the general recommendation for this vitamin.
- Cod Liver Oil-it contains the healthy omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which can help improve mood and may help with SAD symptoms, as well as vitamin A and D.
As always, remember to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet (aim for about 80% vegetables, 20% fruits), and get plenty of exercise.