Preventing and Beating Seasonal Depression

Courtesy scienceline.org    It is not unusual for people to slip into depression as the quantity of sunlight diminishes during fall and winter months.

 

The fall season initiates a time of cooler temperatures, shorter days and longer nights that can cause deleterious moods for some. This is no reason for concern since there are many natural interventions that may improve one’s mood, sleep and energy. 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur when the seasons change. SAD usually starts in the fall and lasts through the winter months. Some symptoms of SAD include feeling depressed most of the day, difficulty concentrating, losing interest in activities, low energy, sleep issues, changes in appetite and weight and feelings of hopelessness. 

There are many pharmaceutical medications that a doctor may prescribe to manage the symptoms, many people choose to forgo this route due to side effects, personal beliefs, or preference for natural treatments in conjunction with their medications.

Below are some low-force interventions that may help.

Home
• Sunlight — spend time outdoors when it is sunny and open shades so light can shine into the house.
• Phototherapy — Studies have shown that light therapy can be equally effective as medications for SAD or depression. Speak with a doctor to see if light therapy is a good option. 

Diet
• Reduce simple sugars, which cause inflammation in the body and are only an ephemeral fix.
• Reduce food additives such as MSG, aspartame, artificial additives and high-fructose corn syrup.
• Increase fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and kimchi. These produce beneficial bacteria for the intestines, which have a positive effect on brain health. 
• Increase healthy fats such as avocados, walnuts, seeds and omega-3 eggs.
• Increase organic fruits and vegetables; the more colorful the better.

Exercise
• Do anything enjoyable as long as it involves moving: bike, jog, hike, stretch, take walks or do yoga. 
• Spend time in nature, whether at the beach, in the forest or in the mountains. 

Natural Remedies
• Teas — there are excellent teas that can improve moods (please note, if on medications, some botanical teas may interact with them). 
• Essential oils — inhalation of lavender, bergamot and frankincense or other essential oils can help improve mood.

The above suggestions are just the basics. There are many more natural and integrative approaches including vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathic medicines. Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options.