Freelancer Tips

How Freelancers Can Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Fiverr Team
November 28, 2022
Seasonal Affective Disorder

As winter approaches and it gets colder, it can sometimes be difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. One major reason that you may in a slump during the Winter months is Season Affective Disorder (SAD or Seasonal Depression), which usually occurs around late fall/early winter.  

Season Affective Disorder has many symptoms, some of the most common are a change in appetite, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Approximately 4 to 6 percent of the population in the United States suffer from strong SAD symptoms, with a further 10 to 20 percent of the population with mild SAD.

In this article, you’ll learn how to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, helping you to stay fresh and focused on your freelance work during the winter season.

Why Do People Get SAD?

Scientists haven’t discovered the root cause of SAD. However, medical research indicates that people suffering from SAD have reduced activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Daylight is required to regulate our circadian rhythms, and during the winter months, there is less daylight than at any other time of the year. This can have a detrimental impact on the maintenance of serotonin levels, as sunlight helps to regulate the molecules needed for balanced serotonin levels. Research also suggests that SAD may be caused by a deficit of Vitamin D and an overproduction of melatonin—a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.

What Are the Symptoms of Season Affective Disorder?

Some of the SAD symptoms are more noticeable than others, so it’s important to monitor if you’re experiencing any of them and if they’re more extreme during the winter months.

The main signs and symptoms of SAD:

  • Depression: Feeling sad, down, hopeless, and having a complete lack of drive can be related to depression. SAD can cause bouts of depression in people and make them feel depressed.
  • Low energy: SAD can make you feel drained, lethargic, and very sluggish.
  • Difficulty with concentration: If you’re unable to focus and it doesn’t improve once you’re hydrated, caffeinated, and have slept well, it could be a sign of SAD.
  • Oversleeping: Another major symptom of SAD can be oversleeping or sleeping more than you usually do.
  • Overeating: Alongside eating larger portions than you usually do, SAD can also make you crave comfort foods such as carbohydrates, sugars, and foods that provide you with emotional comfort.

How Can Freelancers Manage SAD?

Managing SAD is essential, if unchecked, it can cause physical and mental distress for your body. If you’re suffering from SAD, you can try these methods to help remedy the symptoms.

Take Frequent Breaks to Stretch, Exercise, or Walk

It’s important to stretch your legs, go for walks, and get fresh air. Hitting the gym, as well, can help with relieving physical and mental stress, alongside keeping you fit and healthy.

Create More Meaningful Connections

Freelance work can be solitary and lonely, especially during winter months when it’s cold. Interacting with other people outside of work is therapeutic, and it provides emotional safety. Try scheduling dinner or drinks with friends or even randomly calling a family member or friend to catch up. Or, try using a coworking space.

Get a UV Light for your Workspace

If you can’t get more natural light into your workspace, then getting a UV light can be a great option to help remedy SAD. Light therapy simulates sunlight and can improve SAD symptoms by reducing the production of melatonin and increasing the production of serotonin.

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder this Winter

It’s always vital to check in with yourself during the winter months, especially if you feel like you’re experiencing some of the signs of SAD. Take frequent work breaks and get some fresh air, engage with your family and friends and try to get as much sunlight as possible.

If you’re worried that you may be experiencing SAD symptoms, It’s important to contact a health and wellness professional right away.

Fiverr Team
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