SAD Without The Sun

The October Blues. It is a real thing, you know. During this point of the season you may have found yourself wondering why you feel so somber. Nothing is going wrong, really. You just had fall break which should have given you a break from school so you could come back refreshed and ready to hit the books. But instead you come back to your dorm room and find yourself wanting to spend more time in bed moping rather than doing anything productive. Don’t fret! You have fallen victim to Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD for short.

Being or having SAD is nothing to be ashamed of. You cannot help it, in fact! Those most affected by SAD are women, those who live in places where there are shorter days and longer nights and people between the age of 15 and 55. Experts though think the main cause is lack of sunlight. This may upset your biological clock which messes with your natural sleep patterns and other circadian rhythms. It also affect the amount of serotonin in your brain which is the chemical that makes us happy.

Now, what can you do to help get rid of that sadness that is looming over you? Well there is no definite “cure” for this but that are numerous things you can try to help manage it.

You can try a happy light, as I call them. The purpose of these light boxes is to give you the same effect you would if you sat outside on a sunny day. This will basically trick your brain into resetting your biological clock to its normal setting. In turn it will help your serotonin levels get back to their normal levels.

** Helpful hint. Use these happy lights in the morning so your body thinks it’s later in the day and will have an easier time waking up.

Get out and exercise! If your brain is having a hard time producing its normal happy chemical then give it a break and get moving! When you exercise your brain releases a chemical called endorphins. Elle Woods was not lying when she said endorphins make you happy.

Be outside during the day as much as possible. You may not be getting the same amount of hours of sunlight as you would in the summer but you should be trying to get as many hours as you can get. The sun is your friend in this case.

Lastly, talk to your doctor. If you feel as though you have no other options then please talk to a medical professional. This is a real disease that they can help you with.

You are not alone when it comes to this. It is a very common thing to experience, especially if you are from a different state that doesn’t have as bad of a winter as Utah does. Make sure you are paying attention to your well being and take care of yourself this winter!