Commonly known as winter blues, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is for real and a distressing form of depression.
Doctors are not yet sure of why it happens, but the American Psychiatric Association suggests that it's mostly triggered by the change in the season, as reduced exposure to the sun creates a chemical imbalance in the brain.People complain of feeling sluggish, disinterested in activities and difficulty in concentrating on their work. In most cases, SAD goes away as summer and spring approach.
But along with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the seasonal affective disorder can be more challenging for people this year.
Here are a few techniques that can help in managing SAD symptoms:
Get enough light
The reason why people experience SAD is because of the lack of daylight. The seasonal decrease in the light during winter can affect how a person feels. Experts say, getting outside even for a few minutes when the sun is out can do wonders.
Use light therapy boxIf you cannot go out in the sun, you can try a light therapy lamp, which gives off a light that mimics the sunlight. The light from the therapy bulb is brighter than regular light bulbs.
If you feel drowsy during the winter months, the lightbox can stimulate the body's circadian rhythms and suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy.
Have a consistent sleep schedule
Less exposure to sunlight not only impacts the mood but also disrupts the body's circadian rhythm, making people feel more lethargic and sleepy.
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help. Good sleeping habits, even on the weekends, reinforces your internal clock that reminds the brain when to release or curb the body's wake and sleep cycle.
Limit your intake of caffeine, set your room on a cool temperature and exercise daily to improve the sleep cycle.
If you are unsure about which physical activity you should opt for, try yoga. Studies have shown that yoga has a positive effect on the mood, anxiety and depression. Yoga stresses on mind-body awareness and is a useful tool for people dealing with seasonal depression, reports Times of India.