Winter Making You Feel SAD?

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it is by far (in both research and perspective!) the worst month of the entire year.  February typically brings the worst weather, colder temperatures, and overall gloominess to both the sky and our moods. For some people, such low mood peaks in February, preceded by declining mood since the Fall. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of Clinical Depression that occurs only at certain times of the year, the most typical time being winter. This debilitating mood disorder affects 2 to 3% of Canadians, while another 15% will experience a milder form of SAD in their lifetime (CMHA).

Symptoms of SAD

  • Depressed mood *
  • Lethargy
  • Sleep disruption; too much, too little
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from social contacts 
  • Lack of concentration, motivation
  • Weight gain
  • Intense cravings for carbohydrates

*The depressed mood must occur over at least two consecutive winters, alternating with non-depressed periods in the spring and summer. 

**It is important to not diagnose yourself without talking to your doctor first because there may be other causes for these symptoms.**

How Do I Deal With SAD?

  • Light Therapy: One of the most effective treatments for SAD is using light to help relieve depressive symptoms and aid in normalizing your body’s rhythm and internal clock. Research has found that light therapy has an anti-depressent affect in 70% of people suffering from SAD after 2 weeks of starting treatment (MDAO).
  • Psychotherapy: Working through your thoughts and feelings during this time is extremely important. With increased irritability, anxiety and depressive symptoms like hopelessness and guilt, a professional therapist can give you coping strategies and provide support during the most difficult of times. 
  • Self-Help: Even with decreased energy and a lack of motivation, getting out and being active is vital. Participating in yoga, mindfulness meditation, cardio exercises, massages, and social activities all lead to improved wellness. 

Better Health Clinic Support for SAD

At Better Health Clinic we strive to support each individual in the most holistic way possible, with many of our services effective for SAD:  naturopathic medicine, psychotherapy, nutritional support, massage therapy, mindfulness meditation, and our very own infrared sauna. 

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.