SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder
I’ll just go ahead and say it.
I’ve NEVER been a fan of cold weather and I hate it when it starts getting dark before 5 pm here in Michigan.
But even in the warmest of places, thousands of people
become SAD around this time of year.
It’s appropriately called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and its wonderful characteristics include:
Lethargy, mild depression, and irritability.
And the further north you go (because there’s way less daytime sunlight), the more prevalent SAD becomes.
So here are few easy tips you can use to beat the winter doldrums without going crazy.
1: Stop Eating SAD Foods.
No shocker here, but avoiding refined carbs and sugars is step #1 in your line of defense against winter illness and depression.
The insulin surge caused by these foods only exacerbates SAD and suppresses your immune system even further.
Make sure you eat clean, paleo style choices at least five days of the week and add in some glucose based starches and ripe fruits after exercise a few days of the week.
It’s not sexy, but it’s mandatory if you want to feel energetic and healthy this winter.
2: Light it Up.
According to doctors and experts, the primary cause of SAD is a lack of sunlight.
This means you should go out of your way to get appropriate sunlight whenever possible.
Perfect example: As I was writing this, it was 2:14 pm EST and the sun popped out of the clouds and started shining on my computer, so I dropped everything, put on my jacket, and went for a short walk to get some sunlight.
Ok, I’m back. 🙂
There’s only one big problem. The sun is hardly EVER out during this time of the year.
Getting your hands on a SAD or “daylight” lamp and placing it where you spend most of your waking hours during the winter is an inexpensive way to get the right light.
Just make sure you avoid them a few hours before bed or the light may affect your ability to fall asleep.
3: Go For the Big D.
Another nasty consequence of SAD is that your body won’t produce an adequate amount of vitamin D.
When the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit your skin, they activate special cholesterol molecules in your skin to help your body create vitamin D.
And when your body gets the right amount of vitamin D you’ll decrease the symptoms caused by SAD and improve your mood dramatically.
Strong evidence also suggest vitamin D can improve your immune system, which explains the real reason people get sick during the colder months of the year.
This is the primary reason Karen and I always take extra
It should also go without saying, but the BEST way to kick SAD to the curb, is high intensity exercise.
It will help you relieve the stress and anxiety associated with the winter blues and increases your self esteem, which can have a profound affect on your overall mood.
Now you just have to make sure you see changes in the mirror with your workout program during the long winter months, or you’ll just get even MORE depressed.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure you follow a program that’s “customized” for your gender:
Women ONLY: Avoid SAD with Exercise
Men ONLY: Avoid SAD with Exercise
Keep goin’ strong!