Elderly man with hand on his head with text "Winter Blues"

Season Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that cycles with seasonal changes. For most people with this disorder, symptoms begin in late autumn or early winter and subside during the spring and summer.

Short dark days and cold temperatures can make anyone wish for warm sunny days, but seasonal affective disorder is more than just experiencing the winter blues. According to the Mayo Clinic, decline in the amount of daylight during fall and winter months is to blame for SAD.

Symptoms of SAD can include:
• Tiredness and loss of energy
• An increased need to sleep
• Cravings for carbohydrate
• Weight gain
• Social withdrawal
• Slow, sluggish, lethargic movements

In addition to seeking help from a healthcare professional, there are a few lifestyle changes that can improve symptoms and lift your mood.
• Maximize exposure to daylight – make the home brighter, keep blinds and curtains open during the day.
• Engage in activities – spend time with friends and family, go to the mall and other activities you enjoy.
• Practice healthy habits – exercise, get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, spend time outdoors if possible.
• Get plenty of sleep.

Seasonal Affective Disorder can make it hard to feel motivated, but there are plenty of steps to take to help yourself feel better. By adopting healthy habits and scheduling fun and relaxation into the day, you can help lift the SAD cloud for a sunnier day.

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