Do you feel down in the dumps during the winter? Do you feel like all you want to do is stay in bed and hibernate? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. It typically occurs during the winter months, when there is less sunlight. In this blog post, we will discuss the top 11 symptoms of SAD and tips on how to manage them!
What Is SAD?
SAD refers to seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It is sometimes called “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more pronounced and occur more frequently during the winter.
While SAD is most commonly associated with winter, it can also occur during other times of the year. For example, some people experience SAD during the summer months. It is believed that SAD is caused by a change in the amount of sunlight exposure, which can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
More often, it is important to understand the SAD symptoms in order to manage them properly. This can be difficult to do on your own, so it’s important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional if you think you may be experiencing SAD.
What Are The Common SAD Symptoms?
SAD symptoms can vary from person to person, but there are some common symptoms that are experienced by many people with this condition. Let’s outline some of those symptoms to help you identify this condition.
Low energy levels
It is common to feel fatigued and low on energy when you have SAD. This can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and make it hard to concentrate during the day. For example, you may find yourself feeling tired all day, even after a good night’s sleep. It further depletes your energy levels to have to fight off the negative thoughts and feelings that come with SAD.
Changes in appetite
Many people with SAD report changes in their appetite. Some people find that they lose their appetite and don’t feel like eating, while others find themselves craving comfort foods and overeating. These changes in appetite can lead to weight gain or weight loss. In fact, it is believed that SAD may be a contributing factor to the development of obesity.
SAD symptoms are various and sleep problems are one of them. SAD can cause both insomnia and hypersomnia. Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, while hypersomnia is excessive sleeping. These sleep problems can make it hard to function during the day and can further contribute to fatigue and low energy levels.
Down or depressed
Among SAD symptoms, this is often the most reported. It can manifest as a general feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, or even depression. Feeling down is more than just a case of the blues—it can significantly interfere with your ability to function in day-to-day life.
It is very common for people with SAD to experience increased irritability. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as feeling short-tempered, impatient, or easily annoyed. If you find yourself getting irritated more easily than usual during the winter months, it could be a sign that you are suffering from SAD.
Hopeless and worthless
This is a common feeling among those who suffer from SAD. You may feel like you can’t do anything right or that nothing will ever get better. For example, if you’re feeling down about a recent job loss, you may feel like you’re never going to find another job. These negative feelings can be all-consuming and make it hard to see any hope for the future.
Lack of interest
During SAD symptoms, people may feel a loss of interest in activities they normally enjoy. This can make it hard to find the motivation to do anything other than stay in bed all day. People may also lose interest in pleasure activities and socializing during this time. Studies have found that people with SAD are more likely to report problems with motivation and pleasure than those without the disorder.
Fatigue is a common symptom of SAD. It can be difficult to get out of bed in the morning, and you may feel tired throughout the day. In fact, some people with SAD report feeling like they have the flu. However, fatigue is not something that should be ignored. If you are feeling excessively tired, it is important to talk to your doctor.
Agitation or anxiety
This is a feeling of being “keyed up” or on edge. You may feel like your heart is racing, and you can’t sit still. It is common to feel this way before an important event, but people with SAD feel this way most or all of the time. For example, you may feel this way at work, or when you are around other people. Agitation feels like your mind is going 100 miles an hour, and you can’t focus on anything.
You may find it hard to concentrate or make decisions. Your thoughts may race from one thing to the next, making it hard to focus on any one thing. Concentration seems the foremost that impacts one’s productivity. For instance, it is hard to get important tasks done, or you may procrastinate more than usual. Because of this, you may start to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
It is not surprising that people with SAD often have thoughts of harming themselves. After all, they are in a constant state of stress and anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors. They might feel like they are a burden to others and that the world would be better off without them. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, it is important to seek professional help immediately.
All in all, these are a few symptoms that one might have during the winter months. If you find that you are struggling with any of these, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to assist you in managing your SAD symptoms. Remember, you are not alone!
How Can You Manage SAD Symptoms?
It might be difficult to manage SAD symptoms on your own, but there are treatments available. Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you. Here are some tips that may help:
Get natural light
This is one of the most effective treatments for SAD. Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day, even when it’s cloudy. If you can’t get outside, sit near a window. Also, try to work in a well-lit area. It will help if you avoid fluorescent lighting. You might start with 15 minutes a day and then increase the time as needed.
Take breaks during the day
If you work at a computer, take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help to reduce eye strain. Also, try to get up and move around for a few minutes every hour. When you take a break, try to get some natural light. Because SAD symptoms are most likely to happen in the winter, it can help to take a vacation to a sunny place.
Exercise can help to improve your mood and give you more energy. It’s also a good way to reduce stress. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, most days of the week can help. If you can’t do this all at once, break it up into smaller amounts of time throughout the day. Just, focus on being active because if you’re moving, you’re doing something good for your body and your mind.
Eating a healthy diet can also help to reduce SAD symptoms. Make sure you’re getting enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And limit your intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Eating a balanced diet will help to keep your energy levels up and your mood stable. Moreover, when you eat healthy foods, you’ll feel better physically, which can also help to improve your mood.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is always crucial while dealing with depression and anxiety, but it’s especially important when you’re experiencing SAD. People with SAD often have trouble sleeping or oversleeping, so aim for seven to eight hours per night. Consider seeing a sleep specialist if you think your sleep patterns are impacting your mental health.
See a therapist
Sometimes, you might have difficulty managing your SAD symptoms on your own. If this is the case, you should consider seeking professional help. A therapist can provide you with support and guidance as you work to manage your symptoms. There are a few different types of therapy that can be effective for SAD.
One option is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy can help you to identify and change negative thought patterns that may be contributing to your SAD symptoms. CBT can also help you to develop coping and problem-solving skills.
Another option is light therapy. This involves sitting near a special light box for a set amount of time each day. Light therapy can help to improve your mood and energy levels. Light therapy is also called phototherapy. The light from the box is very bright, but it’s not harmful.
Your therapist can help you to choose the best treatment approach for your needs. With the help of a therapist, you can learn how to manage your SAD symptoms and live a healthy and happy life.
If you feel like your SAD symptoms are starting to take over your life, it’s important to talk to a doctor. They may prescribe medication like antidepressants to help stabilize your mood. While medication isn’t a cure for SAD, it can be an effective way to manage the most severe symptoms. It is also important to note that it can take several weeks for the full effects of the medication to be felt, so don’t give up if you don’t see results right away.
All in all, these are a few common and the most important SAD symptoms that you should be aware of. If you are experiencing any of these, make sure to talk to your doctor. They can help you find the best treatment options to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
In conclusion, the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that affects people during the fall and winter. The symptoms can be mild to severe and include fatigue, social withdrawal, changes in appetite, weight gain, and sleep problems. While there are many ways to treat SAD, including light therapy, antidepressants, and psychotherapy, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your symptoms.
All in all, with the help of medical professionals and a positive attitude, SAD can be managed successfully. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you think you may be struggling with seasonal affective disorder.
For more information and guidance on SAD symptoms, please get in touch with our expert therapists at Therapy Mantra. They will be more than happy to assist you on your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.