Natural Remedies for Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)

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As we move closer to the Winter Solstice on December 21st, many of us feel the effects of the shorter days and lack of light. This phenomena is called Seasonal Affect Disorder and affects anywhere from 5 to 25% of the population. These seasonal changes disrupt our circadian rhythm, the 24 hour clock that regulates how we function during sleep and waking hours. It also disrupts our hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which regulate sleep, mood, and feelings of well-being.

So what can we do? Light therapy boxes give off light that mimics sunlight and restores our circadian rhythms. You can use these at your desk at work or at home, just 30 minutes per day will make a significant difference. Amazon has a variety of these lights, The Verilux Happy Light; is small and easy to transport. In addition, let as much natural light into your home and workspace as possible and be sure to get outside every day.

Exercise releases endorphins that bring about feelings of euphoria and a sense of well being. Endorphins are also natural painkillers, so the more you move, the happier and less painful you will feel. Just remember when it is dark outside, your key to feeling great is hitting the gym!

Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with SAD. Your doctor can check your vitamin D levels to determine if a vitamin D supplement would be helpful for you. Nutritionally, there are a number of foods that will boost your mood and energy levels, wild caught salmon, turkey, shellfish, legumes, eggs, sweet potato, bananas, spinach, oats and dark chocolate all help to regulate mood.

Marlene Dickinson
Director of Wellness/Holistic Wellness Coach
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition
Food as Medicine/Mind, Mood and Food Coach
(978) 526-8900 x 362

katelyn cross