How To Cure The End-Of-Summer Blues

  • As August slowly fades into September, the days gradually become shorter and darker. For some of us, the change of season also means a change in mood. You might notice that you’re becoming more lethargic, depressed and anxious. If any of those symptoms sound familiar, you’re not alone. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a mood disorder in which people develop depressive symptoms in the darker months (anywhere between September and February). SAD affects millions of people each year, and it has a significant impact on the well-being and lifestyle of those who suffer from it. Sometimes people with the disorder often have difficulty concentrating and report having very low energy. Here are five things you can do to combat SAD:

    Exercise Outside

    Exercise releases endorphins, which serves as a natural mood enhancer. If possible, get regular exercise during the fall and winter months. It will reduce your depression, stress and anxiety. Furthermore, exercise outdoors if possible. Take long walks during the daylight, and make sure to take advantage of the sun, if any is present. Even though fall and winter don’t deliver nearly enough sun, getting outside in the daylight can help combat feelings of depression during the cold months.
  • Try Light Therapy Light therapy is typically the main treatment used for SAD. It replicates outdoor lighting, causing a biochemical change in the brain that naturally lifts your mood. To try this out, get a lightbox or a lamp designed to mimic full-spectrum light. Expose yourself to the light early in the day to see the most effective results. Many people feel better within one week of light therapy.
  • Eat Vitamin D-Rich Foods Make sure vitamin D is a big part of your diet. Vitamin D is naturally absorbed from the sun, and when you are unable to expose yourself to the sun naturally, it helps to eat foods that contain the vitamin. Good sources of Vitamin D can be found in fresh fish like tuna and salmon, as well as canned sardines, orange juice, cereal, milk and yogurt.
  • Make Omega-3s Part Of Your Diet Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the synthesis of serotonin, which can help prevent symptoms of depression. Countries with high consumption of seafood containing omega-3 fatty acids have lower rates of depression, according to several studies. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish like sardines, herring and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • See Your Doctor If you’re experiencing severe depression, trying to fix it yourself may not suffice, and you may greatly benefit from psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be very helpful in alleviating symptoms of SAD. Additionally, some drugs have been approved for the treatment of the disorder. See your doctor to determine the best option for you.