Natural Ways to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Beep!, Beep!, It’s 8:00 A.M., Time to get ready for work. Every day, It’s the same thing. You wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat a hearty breakfast, and work out if you feel especially motivated. But, this morning, you feel tired, weak, and unmotivated. It’s almost like a wave of sadness crashed over you while you were sleeping. What happened?
What if we told you it might be SAD? But not the sad you’re thinking about. Instead of being sad, you may actually have SAD. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons-Mayo Clinic,2022. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects more than 3.5 million people in the United States annually. It is common in people with a history of mental health issues like Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
Causes Of SAD
Our Bodies Natural Rhythms. Seasonal affective disorder is prevalent in areas of the Northern United States and Canada and especially in areas where the winters are harsh and long. SAD has been linked to our body's natural circadian rhythms. The days become shorter and the periods of darkness begin to take a toll on our bodies. Time changes further exacerbate the effect of the seasons changing and can shock the body into a period of depression.
Lack of Sunshine. Life’s better on a tropical island. You can sip margaritas, swim year-round, and wear less restrictive clothing. It’s an old cliche we’ve all heard. In reality, people are happiest where they feel most at home. For some, It’s a frigid day on the streets of Chicago or New York. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, People on the island will almost certainly never struggle with the effects of SAD. And this is for one main reason; The big and bright yellow thing in the sky. The abundance of sunlight and time spent outside during the day directly contributes to higher serotonin levels. Serotonin is our body’s “happy” chemical. It’s what causes pure joy, contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
How do I know if I have SAD?
- Feeling of Sadness. Individuals with SAD often experience overwhelming sadness and despair. Everything is the same, and no other significant issues could potentially cause this feeling. We’ve all probably had a day where we just “woke up on the wrong side of the bed”. Your body feels off; you feel tired, upset, irritable, etc. SAD can be similar to this feeling, but for more intense multi-day periods. No one likes to feel sad.
- Low Energy Levels. Another common symptom of SAD is a greatly reduced overall energy level and willingness to accomplish anything. We may not think about it, But Our energy levels play a vital role in how productive and fulfilled we are in our lives. An individual who is active and has a good energy level will accomplish tasks more efficiently and usually be more diligent than a person who is tired and unmotivated. SAD can cause us to have lower drive and motivation to do anything productive and may cause periods of laziness and decreased movement.
- Irregular Sleeping. “Sleep is so important” Yeah, Yeah, We’ve all heard it a million times from everyone. If there’s one factor that will change your life more than almost anything else, it’s a proper sleep schedule. Frequently, we find ourselves sleeping too little and experiencing some symptoms of depression. This is commonly caused by extreme levels of fatigue and low energy levels as a direct result of sleep deprivation. However, SAD can cause a different issue with sleep. Interestingly enough, sleeping too much can also cause your body many issues. Sleep is our body’s natural resting period and provides the necessary energy to properly function while awake. But, if we sleep too much, our bodies are not as active as they should be, and our brains aren’t being stimulated properly. It’s ok to oversleep for a few nights in a month. But, If you are constantly oversleeping, it can cause major health issues such as diabetes, cardiac diseases, obesity, and, in extreme cases, even death.
- Change in Eating Habits. A lot of time, when we are stressed, it affects our diet. Sometimes, we overeat, and sometimes, we eat too little. A change in eating habits can reflect our mental and physiological state(s). We’ve all had that unusual urge to eat a whole tub of our favorite ice cream after a rough day at work or when a significant life event happens. SAD can also cause a change in eating habits. Depending on the symptoms, The “winter blues” and “spring fever” can cause us to lose our appetite or eat too much. But, eating properly and maintaining a balanced diet during these seasonal transitions is especially important.
Seasons Of SAD
Winter/Fall: SAD is most commonly experienced at the onset of the winter season. Most people experience it at the very beginning of winter, particularly when the time changes. This drastic change in our circadian rhythms and the drop in daylight hours shocks the body into SAD. For many people, the warmer months and longer days offer many health benefits, and the body receives an abundance of vitamin D and a high energy level from exposure to the sun. As the seasonal shift occurs, an individual can find their body hunting for these nutrients and experiencing a lack of energy. As mentioned earlier, the effect of this change can be especially severe in areas where harsh winters and short days are normal.
Summer/Spring: SAD is most common in the winter months, but it can and does affect people in the warmer months as well. We’re all different. Some people love spending time in the sun, and some don’t. An abundance of warmth and sunshine offers many benefits for most people but can negatively affect others. For some, the sun can cause the body to overheat, and they may feel sicker in the warmer months. Especially as summers get longer and hotter, these people will suffer more and more. Summer SAD can cause many of the same symptoms experienced in the winter. It may also cause a person to have an extremely lowered appetite.
While SAD is definitely a serious issue and classified as a type of depression, in most cases, the body can adapt fairly quickly, and the symptoms will subside. People with existing mental health issues will be more sensitive to these seasonal shifts and can be affected more seriously. SAD is usually relatively mild, but it can become quite severe when the individual's mental state is already fragile, to begin with. In some cases, SAD and seasonal changes can act as a catalyst that may send an individual spiraling into a much deeper depressed state. Although SAD is relatively mild and can disappear in a matter of days, you can take a few steps to treat it and reduce its effects.
For any issues concerning mental health, It is always wise to contact your doctor or a medical professional you trust. We recommend listening to what they advise you to do and evaluating your options. However, that being said, it may not be wise to take prescription antidepressants for some mild symptoms of SAD. For severe cases, there may not be any better options. But, if the symptoms are mild, we recommend trying these natural solutions to potentially alleviate the effects.
- Get Moving
One of the best ways to solve the problem of feeling lazy, tired, and unmotivated is to force yourself not to be. Sometimes we all need a kick in the pants to go out and be active. It’s scientifically proven that exercise and fresh air are incredibly beneficial to your mental health; even something as simple as a walk can make a difference. In many cases, by forcing ourselves to be active, we can become so distracted that we may not even feel or notice SAD's symptoms.
- Achieve Something
Getting active is a great start, but one of the best ways to fix the blues is to replace them with positivity and a feeling of satisfaction. When you’re feeling down, plan to do something you’ve been putting off for a while or try to do something new and productive. Maybe, you can clean and reorganize the house or do some yard work. Perhaps, there’s a work project that you’ve been avoiding or dragging out for an extended period of time. Or if you’re usually home alone or retired, you could go out for coffee or lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Making the time to do something productive may make a tremendous difference in your mental state. Having said that, we’re all different. For some, it may be this simple to fix the problems caused by SAD. But, for others, it can be challenging.
- Switch Up Your Diet
In our chaotic and fast-moving lives, we often succumb to the draw of convenience and accessibility in many areas. One of these areas is usually our diet. It’s no secret that what we put into our bodies significantly affects what we can get out. Suppose we’re constantly filling our bodies with empty calories, excessive sugar, and carbs. In that case, it can harm our overall health and vitality. Symptoms of SAD and your diet may sound like they’re entirely separate things. But, if your overall health and vitality are low, your mental health can also suffer. It’s always crucial to eat a healthy balance of food and consume what is best for our individual bodies.
- BestMade Solutions
If you find yourself experiencing less severe symptoms of SAD, we offer a few different products that may help you. Homeopathy can be very effective at treating some mental-emotional problems that are not quite severe enough to require medical oversight. If you’re feeling a bit off or if you’re just not operating at your usual 100% percent energy level, we may be able to help with a safe and natural solution.
BM187 - Natural Supplement for Energy Boost - Safe, gentle, and non-habit forming, this extremely effective energy boost supplement increases your zest for life without any caffeine and sugar in energy drinks and sports drinks. It is non-addictive, effective, and doesn’t cause energy crashes or increased blood pressure.
BM118 - Natural Remedy Depression Supplement. This is a natural relief for stress, anxiety, sleep issues, irritability, loss of interest, sadness, agitation, lack of energy, and more. This solution may be ideal for you if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Bio 24 -Natural Energy Boost & Nerve Tonic (Five Phos). This homeopathic product contains 5 potent minerals for nervous fatigue, anxiety, and depression. The solution also boosts your memory and cognitive function and helps you get restful sleep.
The bottom line
Lastly, if you find yourself struggling with symptoms that may be SAD, don’t panic! For many people all over the country, it’s the same. Take a deep breath, evaluate how you feel, and go from there. Generally, the human body is resilient and adept at adapting to change. Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of time to adjust. As with any mental-emotional problems, it’s essential to talk to a professional or take action if the symptoms become or are more severe. If you’re up for it, go for a walk, go meet that friend for coffee, and maybe even clean that spare room you’ve been carefully avoiding for months. These are ways that you may be able to snap out of that funk and get back to living your best life. And, if you’re looking for natural options to help with treating SAD and its symptoms, please consider using one of our formulas. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We aim to help you along your journey to a natural, happy, and healthy life.