The Surprisingly Easy Way to Cure Those Winter Blues
The onslaught of fall brings a handful of upsides. Instagram-friendly foliage, the overly hyped PSL (sorry, not sorry) and a closer proximity to the holidays. But as summer bids us a bitter farewell, it can also bring on a kind of depression. And we don’t mean that in the “no more summer Fridays” kind of way. Sometimes the shift in seasons can cause Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD for short).
SAD was only recognized as a disorder in 1984. It’s often confused for traditional depression because they have most of the same symptoms: not feeling interested in what you used to be interested in, tiredness, difficulty getting out of bed, etc. But SAD’s differentiation comes in its repeat offense. If you can recall something similar happening for the last couple of years, that’s usually a good indication. It can also be a genetic thing, so look into your family history.
Bhuyan explains that the cause still isn’t entirely clear. “Doctors don’t really know exactly what the cause is, but they think it’s light-related. People who live further from the equator are more prone to SAD, whereas people who are living in sunny areas don’t see as many cases. It could also be connected to the circadian rhythm when it gets lighter earlier. It causes you to make more melatonin, which causes drowsiness.”
The cure? Simple. More light. While traditional depression is often treated with medication, Bhuyan explains that in most cases this can be treated at home with light therapy. Bhuyan advises patients diagnosed with SAD or concerned they might have it start spending some quality time with a light box. “Sit in front of a light box [a fluorescent one works] with your eyes open; don’t look into the light,” she says. “Start with 10 minutes a day and then move into 45. Eighty-five percent of the time it works.”
It helps that light boxes can easily be found online. One Target customer gave this HappyLight a glowing review. She writes, “By the third day of use, I could feel a real difference. For you, it may take longer to feel results, or you may need more light […] To sum it all up…in the ongoing fight against depression, I’m a long-time veteran, and I LIKE this product!”
Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times it can require more attention. But if you find yourself feeling down as the leaves fall, it might be worth looking into. “So many people just write it off as winter blues,” Bhuyan says. “But the problem is, it doesn’t get better, so we want people to reach out to their doctor.”
Have you ever experience SAD? Share your story with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)
Back in January, we introduced you to a feel-good cause to inspire your New Year's resolution: a walking challenge to help raise funds for the amazing cancer fighters at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I took part in the challenge with the Brit + Co team and ended up walking 105+ miles in January — it was awesome.
This spring, there's a new challenge on the horizon, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Big Climb. The ask: On May 15, 2021, you can step up to take cancer down by committing to climb 1,311 steps, walking 3.2 miles, or doing 440 chair step-ups at home as part of the Big Climb. If you need some motivation to bring movement back into your daily routine — look no further!
As always, it's free to sign up, but climbers are encouraged to set a fundraising goal to help beat cancer. We'll be organizing another Brit + Co team to step up, and I hope you'll join us too! Keep scrolling for a peek at where I'll be completing the challenge in my Los Angeles neighborhood around the hidden Silver Lake Stairs. Happy climbing!
Never underestimate the power of an accountability buddy! I asked my in-laws, my partner, and a few friends to join me so we can keep each other motivated and accountable in completing the challenge — virtual high-fives all around! Also, my dog Fox is a great climber, too.
An aesthetically pleasing backdrop is a huge motivator for me! I'm fortunate to have all sorts of painted steps around my neighborhood to keep the challenge interesting, but you can also keep cool inside with at-home chair step-ups.
Don't forget to share your progress on social — #BigClimb!
Feel free to break the challenge up if you need to by tackling half the distance in the AM and half at sunset. Here's me 1,311 steps later and ready for a break — but, think I earned this one!