By Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
It’s that time of year again as many of us begin to experience the damaging effects of limited sunlight exposure and hours of indoor seclusion. As the inclement weather moves in, do not be alarmed. Although the war on seasonal depression is closing in, stay strong by preparing in advance. This is a war that we can and will conquer. In this case, remember that the best defense against attack is a good offense. Tackling this enemy before having to retreat is a valor strategy. Perhaps a peace treaty can be addressed prior to any unwarranted or unnecessary casualties in the war on seasonal depression.
Taking the Initiative
Be prepared to take active measures if history proves that you struggle with depression during the fall/winter months. According to WebMD, “Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that happens every year at the same time. A rare form of seasonal depression, known as “summer depression,” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, though, seasonal affective disorder starts in fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer.” Seasonal depression is often referred to as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for obvious reasons. Avoid getting too SAD this winter by being preparing for the emotional storm in advance.
Recognizing the Symptoms
2) Isolation and feelings of inadequacy
3) Experiencing emotional mood swings
4) Weight gain/loss
5) Sore back/muscle tension
7) Trouble concentrating
8) Work related issues
Do not feed into this negative energy. Stay positive and seek healthy outlets to redirect your mental and physical self. Avoid excess sleep and the various forms of isolation. Get up and get outside of your thoughts by staying active.
A friend of mine from college offered some sound advice that I still implement into my daily activities. He told me to witness the sunrise and sunset on a daily basis if possible. “Even if it’s from indoors while gazing out the window during the coldest of winter days, something positive happens to us when we experience this daily ritual.” For me, it has a way of placing things in proper perspective. I feel connected to nature and the rest of the world, as I witness Mother Nature in all her morning and evening glory.
Being a part of something bigger than ourselves helps us get out of that dark and lonely place of self-isolation. It’s easy to search Google for daily time updates regarding sunrise and sunset regional schedules. For another great resource to find sunrise and sunset calendars, visit www.sunrisesunset.com.
More Ways to Battle SAD
Tea and herbal supplements can help improve those winter ‘blues’ by adding a sense of natural stability. “A study in 1993 shows that St. John’s Wort improved the condition of those who regularly experience winter depression. The extract has been thoroughly researched as a natural anti-depressant. A total of 1,592 patients have been studied in 25 double-blind controlled studies. The studies show St. John’s Wort produces improvements in fighting anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances, and without side effects. Use whole herb extracts for the best results.” By adding this supplement to our daily routine, we have a better chance at remaining one step ahead of this SAD enemy. St. John’s Wort should not be used with MAOIs, SSRIs, or other anti-depressant medicine.
Natural Supplements & Treatments Can Help
Diamond Nutritional’s Mood Support Formula contains 5-HTP derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, along with specific vitamins and minerals which have been shown to support those with mild-to-moderate depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety.
In addition, I always recommend having your vitamin D3 level checked. In my opinion, this should be part of every comprehensive blood profile. Vitamin D3 deficiency is prevalent year-round but usually worse in winter. Numerous studies have revealed that Vitamin D3 has many benefits, including mood support. I have found that most adults need to take 5,000 IU daily to maintain normal blood levels.
As with any product, quality varies greatly. Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 5,000 is an ultra high-grade vitamin which quickly raises, and maintains, Vitamin D3 levels.
Many of us will find it beneficial to incorporate additional ally activities into our daily routine. “Other helpful natural remedies for SAD include color, sound, homeopathy, flower essences, and essential oils.”
Being creative by seeking out alternative solutions will provide many of us with constructive projects and mental stimulation. The whole point is to occupy the mind with healthy and productive thoughts rather than those SAD self-defeating ones.
Depression is quite common. If symptoms persist, please see your doctor.