And just like that, Fall is here. As we transition from long hot days to shorter cooler days, some people may find themselves feeling more anxious and depressed. Lower levels of serotonin from the reduction of exposure to sunlight can be one of the causes. Serotonin is an important hormone that affects everything from your mood to appetite, and even sleep patterns. There is also an increase in the hormone melatonin, which tends to make people feel sleepy and depressed.
As we begin to see the first glimpse of fall colors and maybe even snow, some of us may begin to feel the winter blues. These feelings of low energy and sleepiness may actually be Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Could it be Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is a form of depression related to the changing seasons. It usually starts in the late fall, especially in our northern climes. The decreasing hours of sunlight, along with the cold and snow, cause our bodies to retreat into the warmth and coziness of our homes. We tend to crave carbohydrates, eat comfort foods, and socially withdraw as we sleep more, and move less; much like we are hibernating!
Those most at risk for SAD are people already suffering from major depression or bipolar disorder. Risk factors include being female, family history, young age, and the further you live from the equator, the higher your risk. However, there are ways to decrease your risk and increase your mood.
What can you do to improve your mood?
- Soak-up Some Sun: When the weather allows, go for a walk on those bright, crisp sunny days. If the temperature or the ice and snow don’t allow you to venture outside, open the curtains and let the sunshine in.
- Exercise Daily: Exercising daily for at least 30 minutes is key for mental wellness. Study after study shows improved mood after exercise.
- Eat the Healthy Stuff: It’s a great time to make your favorite seasonal soups and warm meals you didn’t get to eat over the summer.
- Take Vitamins: Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, which may help with mood.
- Reconnect with Friends and Family: A phone call, visit or even a vacation (following socially-distance guidelines) will keep you socially involved.
If these options aren’t working or you just need something more to improve your mood, your healthcare provider may recommend seeking help from a psychotherapist. They may offer medications, lightbox therapy, or talk therapy.
Ketamine Wellness Centers has over 10 years of experience and expertise providing depression care and relief in our comfortable and clinically controlled settings located nationwide. Learn more about how we treat depression and anxiety through low-dose, clinically controlled ketamine infusions.
There is hope. There is help.
Sources: www.nimh.nih.gov , www.mayoclinic.org , Healthline.com or www.webmd.com
Christine Ryan Chief Clinical Officer at Ketamine Wellness Centers