SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is something that affects many of us, especially in the grips of winter. What is it exactly? It’s a depression associated with lack of sunlight and happens more frequently in populations farther from the equator. In the United States alone, over 10 million people a year suffer from SAD. How do you know if you have SAD, and if you do, how do you combat it?
Signs of SAD
Common symptoms of SAD
- Low energy
- Feeling down
- Disinterested in activities that you usually enjoy
- Sleep issues
- Change in eating habits
- Body feels sluggish
Living in the Iron Range, we see a lot less sunshine during the winter months. This can cause a type of SAD called, “Winter depression.” If you’re feeling the following symptoms, you may be experiencing this type.
- Increase in sleepiness
- Higher appetite, especially for foods rich in carbs
- Weight change
- Lack of energy
How do you combat SAD?
If you believe you’re feeling the effects of SAD, three ways to lessen it are by using light therapy, talking to a counselor, and taking antidepressant medication. Before you start anything, we highly suggest you reach out to your primary care team. If it’s at Fairview, you can ask questions through MyChart or schedule an appointment by calling 218-362-6937.
There are ways to tackle SAD right now.
- Fill up on Vitamin D.
○ Supplements. We suggest looking for products that have one or more of the following stamps of approval — GMP – Good Manufacturing Practice, USP – United States Pharmacopeial Verification, or NSF – National Sanitation Certification.
■ Canned Tuna
■ Egg yolks
■ Cow’s milk or soy milk*
■ Orange juice*
*Check to see if it has been fortified with Vitamin D.
LiveStrong created a great list of Vitamin D-rich recipes. Check it out!
- Soak up the sun. Just taking a 15-minute walk during your lunch hour can help. According to the New York Times, “It is possible to get the ultraviolet-B radiation needed for the skin to synthesize vitamin D even when skies are cloudy or gray.”
- Get outside. Even if it’s dark out, it’s a good way to get a little fresh air.
- Exercise. A walk or run right after work is a simple way to rev up your spirits. The longer you walk, the better.
- Meditate. Taking time to focus and let your mind step away from everyday struggles helps your mood.
Well, there it is. Here’s hoping the sun comes out a bit more. But if it doesn’t, we hope this article helps lift your SAD symptoms. Remember, our team is here to help you with any of your health concerns. You can reach us 24/7 at 218-362-6937 to schedule an appointment or to speak with a triage nurse.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text HOME to 741741 for the crisis text line. Both services are available 24/7.