If you live in the northern hemisphere, especially in the upper latitudes, and are somehow just not feeling your best these days, you may be SAD…suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD afflicts millions of people at about this time each year. It is driven primarily by the shorter days and our reduced exposure to hormone-regulating, and serotonin and Vitamin D-generating, sunlight. Symptoms of SAD range from lethargy to irritability and from social withdrawal to sugar-cravings.
Like other forms of depression, SAD has a natural regressive quality, in that reduced feelings of personal well-being from reduced sunlight tend to make us less active and socially-oriented, circularly and negatively keeping us from exercise, the outdoors, and others – three of our most important natural sources of positive emotions and vibrant life. SAD can disrupt our diet as well, as we seek sugary foods to boost our mood in place of dwindling serotonin levels, leading to more volatile emotions and stress-elevating weight-gain.
While some instances of SAD require medical intervention, many of us can release its seasonal hold on us and break its regressive cycle of disaffection through simple natural health actions. Key SAD mitigating actions include: 1) regular exposure to midday winter sun on our face, arms, and legs (taking care never to burn our skin), 2) daily outdoor exercise, ideally that simultaneously provides midday sun exposure, and 3) daily social activities, again preferably ones that offer time outdoors and added sun exposure.
You can learn more about SAD at Seasonal Affective Disorder and review HumanaNatura’s popular article Revisiting The Sun for guidance and information on beneficial daily sun exposure, now and throughout the year.
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