6 Natural Ways To Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Natural Ways To Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder

In winter, if you feel sad continually then you are probably suffering from seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as winter blues. This mood disorder affects one out of every five people. This is a major depressive disorder characterized by poor mood, loss of pleasure, irritation and low energy level. It is more common in people who live in the northern latitudes where the shorter duration of daylight triggers mood changes. Low sunlight disrupts the body’s biological clock. It affects production of serotonin and melatonin. Hence, you experience mood problems, drowsiness and low energy level. However, seasonal affective disorder can be easily overcome with the help of natural remedies. With simple modifications in your diet and lifestyle you can improve your mood naturally.

Here Are Some Easy Ways To Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder Or Winter Blues Naturally.

1. Eat Oily Fish

Though winter blues are usually associated with lack of sunlight, in the Arctic population, despite severe winter, seasonal mood changes are rarely observed because here seafood is a major constituent of the traditional diet [1]. The high intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish helps in diminishing risk of depression in winter. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA that help in maintaining the normal function of the brain and reduce disorders that affect production of melatonin.

Eat Oily Fish

2. Eat Complex Carbohydrates

To improve your mood in the winter months, eat complex carbohydrates [2]. They help in increasing the serotonin level. The advantage of eating complex carbohydrates is that unlike simple carbohydrates, they do not cause peaks and troughs in the blood sugar level. Instead they are slowly released in the bloodstream so that the blood sugar remains stable.

Eat Complex Carbohydrates

3. Drink Hot Chocolate

To overcome low mood in winter, drink a cup of hot chocolate [3]. The 70% dark chocolate combined with 1 to 2 percent low fat milk is ideal for reducing mood disorders. Chocolate helps in raising the serotonin level, which helps in lifting mood and restoring normal appetite. While cocoa is a natural source of serotonin, milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin.

Drink Hot Chocolate

4. Take Vitamin D Supplement

Deficiency of vitamin D seems to worsen the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder [4]. Exposure to the UVB rays of the sun stimulates vitamin D synthesis. In the winter, owing to insufficient sunlight exposure, the vitamin D level in the blood declines. According to preliminary research, sufficient intake of vitamin D helps in improving seasonal affective disorder. As vitamin D occurs naturally in a small number of foods, you will need vitamin D supplement to boost the concentration of vitamin D in your body.

Vitamin D Supplement

5. Smell Bergamot Essential Oil

The aroma of bergamot essential oil is known to help in reducing depression [5]. To improve your mood naturally, add bergamot essential oil to a diffuser. You may even put few drops of the essential oil on a cloth and slowly inhale the aroma. It helps in improving the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Bergamot Essential Oil

6. Exercise Outdoors

Physical activities help in improving mood [6]. However, if you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder, for better result, exercise outdoors. According to study, the endorphin level is higher in people who exercise outdoors. Endorphin helps in stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain. Moreover, exercising outdoors helps in enhancing the vitamin D level in the body from exposure to sunlight. Five to ten minutes of outdoor exercises can help in reducing sleeping problems, fatigue, irritation and anxiety associated with seasonal affective disorder.