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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.