Health

Fighting seasonal depression

The lack of light affects us all at different levels, some of us more than others. Is this autumn featuring low energy and bad mood? You can do something about it.

Symptoms

Of course, the following symptoms are also associated with other ailments and diseases and you should always undergo a health check to confirm that you are really suffering from seasonal depression (or SAD).

  • Unusual fatigue, increased need for sleep
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of interest for everything that you love
  • Irritability, lack of energy
  • Decrease in sexual desire
  • Sugar cravings
Possible solutions
Move!

We all know that it is hard to get up and move when we are feeling tired but the simplest workout (especially outside on a sunny day) will help you get some energy back while storing the daylight that you are missing. So at lunchtime, go take a walk, even if it is only for 15 to 30 minutes. If you have breaks, use them to go outside, even on cloudy days. It is not the sun that you miss; it is light.

Eat better!

Especially if you are craving fat and sugary foods, try to add portions of vitamin-filled fruits and vegetables to your snacks and meals. Eating fat and sweet foods will tire your digestive system and contribute to your fatigue. When your cravings begin, go outside and get some fresh air. If you are still hungry afterwards, choose healthy foods. Remember that a fruit is sweet too!

Omega-3

More and more studies link omega-3 with a general depression treatment. Many foods naturally contain it like fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), flax and hemp oils and flax seeds. In addition, omega-3 is now added in many foods like eggs, bread and milk. Add some omega-3 to your diet, your overall health will benefit from it.

Light therapy

As SAD is caused by a lack of light, more and more people are turning to light therapy, which consists in exposing yourself to a special light designed to disseminate a large amount of lux, equivalent to summer daylight. Such lamps are available in pharmacies and in some department stores and cost between $50 and $300. A few minutes of exposition every day – while watching television, using the computer or reading – are enough to provide the body with all the light it needs. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist if this technique could help you.

It is important to make the difference between seasonal depression and chronic depression for which medication and treatments may be necessary. Please consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

To find out more about phototherapy, you can also read The light at the end of the winter tunnel.

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