Got the Winter Blues? Maybe It’s SAD….
Have you been feeling down lately? Moody? You can’t seem to concentrate? Want to lay around all the time? You could be SAD. We’re not talking about having the blues; SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. And it’s ok. You are not abnormal and you are certainly not alone.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically-recognized condition. The symptoms are similar to being depressed. People with SAD can’t concentrate, have less energy, are moody and can have problems sleeping.
Researchers think that SAD is caused by three main factors:
- Biological clocks. Your body is used to seeing the sun for a certain time and being in the dark for a certain time. Winter means shorter day, which confuses your internal clock.
- Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood booster that your body makes naturally. Sunlight helps your body make serotonin, so when cold weather keeps you inside and out of the sun, you could have very low serotonin levels. This could make you feel sad or tired and even more hungry.
- Melatonin levels. Your body makes melatonin naturally, but when days get short, your body makes less. This makes it harder to sleep.
SAD is also believed to effect younger people more than older people. That’s why you need to be aware of SAD. When you see a friend is posting dark or depressing messages, maybe he or she is suffering from SAD.
If you are feeling low and find that your mood is effecting your schoolwork or relationships, you should mention this to your parents. You could be suffering from SAD and need to see a medical doctor for help.
Most of the time, SAD is just a natural response to a long stretch of cold and dark days. In those cases, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms.
The first and easiest thing you can do is get more sunlight. Bundle up and walk to school if you can. Or grab some friends for an outdoor game.
Being active is another way to treat SAD. Exercise increases serotonin levels, helping make up for the serotonin you lose during winter. This could be playing basketball in school or following an exercise video online. By getting your exercise outside when the sun is shining, you get twice the benefit.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Talk is cheap”. But in the case of the winter blues, talk is with more than gold! The phrase “talk is cheap” is about when people talk about doing something good, but never do it. What they say doesn’t have real value because it produces no action. But when you’re feel down, it’s so important to express your feelings. Talk to your friends and family about it. Just the act of talking will most certainly make you feel a bit better. And talking can also bring solutions of fun things to do to help you snap out of the doldrums.
Think about SAD when you check your social media. When you see a friend making posts that sound depressed or moody, pick up your phone and invite him or her out to do something fun.
You aren’t a doctor, but you can still help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.