Do you often melancholy when the days get shorter so you nap at home under an old blanket? Seasonal depression is a common issue, especially during fall season. Check whether you’ve got the symptoms and find out how to treat them naturally.
I noticed that I feel sad and demotivated every year in late autumn. It starts when the temperature falls to 50 F. Looking again at the thermometer, I choose to stay at home with a cozy cup of warm tea and a sugary treat. I noticed getting less involved in activities and falling into depression, sapping energy and feeling moody. I thought it to be occasional mood swings, but after noticing it repeatedly a couple of years I understood I may suffer from what is defined by doctors like SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.
SAD and depression. What’s the difference?
SAD is always related to changes in seasons. It usually begins and ends at about the same times every year. Most people struggle with SAD symptoms in fall that then continue into the winter months.
What symptoms are often indicative of SAD?
- You feel depressed nearly every day
- You suffer from spontaneous weight gain/loss
- Your diet preferences change and you may feel unexpected food cravings
- You feel a lack of motivation and lose interest in activities you once enjoyed
- You have problems sleeping and have low energy throughout the day
- Hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt become your common feelings
How can I treat SAD?
We usually take care of bodies and totally forget about our mental health. Don't brush off seasonal depression as a simple autumn spleen that you have to tough out on your own without any help. The following steps will help you keep you in a good mood and improve your motivation throughout the year.
- Think ahead. It’s easier to prevent than to cure. If you know that your seasonal depression often happens the first or second week of October, be ready for that and start preparing yourself a couple of weeks in advance.
- Get well energized in the morning. Why not change your morning schedule and try something new? Practicing a couple of yoga asanas is a great way to start your day. You can also replace your morning coffee routine with a warming brew like berry tea. A capsule of green coffee extract will fulfill your need in caffeine and fill you up with energy more effectively than a cup of fresh espresso. Then, have a wholesome breakfast, and then your day!
- Plan and schedule activities. Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle and limited social activity can worsen your condition? Have you always dreamt about speaking Italian or dancing salsa? Then it’s a perfect time to start! Check out some classes nearby and arrange a lesson.
- Clean and detox. Our mental condition is often connected to our inner health. When our body is overloaded with toxins it sends signals to our mind. You may notice a feeling of heaviness or suffer from low energy. If you feel down, it’s time for a detox program! Choose one that not only cleans your body but also fills it up with needed nutrients, like Spirulina or Chlorella. These algae are known for their cleansing and absorption properties and are rich in minerals and micro-elements. Get rid of all toxins and waste, and you will feel your mood improving.
- Change your diet. As the temperature decreases, our bodies require more energy to warm up. Choose the amino-acid rich food like lean meat, mushrooms, and lentils. You can also try adding amino-acids like L-arginine. Being a chemical building block, it helps our body create proteins. If you are not sure whether you get enough proteins, take as a supplement (2 capsules of L-arginine per day along with a glass of water).
- Try food therapy! In Chinese medicinal cuisine, autumn corresponds to the Metal element and rules the lungs and colon. It requires using seasonal vegetables and enriching your diet with healthy fats and proteins. I choose seasonal foods (most of them are hardy and can be dried or stored for the long months ahead) like heavy grains, seeds, roots, and squashes, that help move the body’s energy inward for the Winter. Chinese cuisine recommends to increase the cooking time for your autumn menu. Turn the heat down and take some personal time while waiting for your tasty stew.
- Balance your hormones. A mental disorder can often be traced back to a hormonal imbalance. Arrange a visit to your endocrinologist if you feel like your hormonal level requires revision. Still, there are some natural remedies that smoothly support your endocrine system. One that I like the most is Maca root extract. It helps me to balance my hormones when my endocrine system is flagging.
- Opt for natural mood-improving remedies like Saffron or Ashwagandha. Those have been used for centuries to treat mood issues like anxiety and depression. Prozac is strong but I vote for what Mother Nature provided us.
- Leave yourself some space. If you still feel pushed down and find it hard to embrace autumn, just give yourself time to handle it. Autumn is a transitional period that helps us prepare for wintertime. This transition involves inner changes as well, give yourself the time to adjust to them.
Do you find these tips useful? Share your experience and opinion in comments!