18 Nov

November has always been a mix of my favorite time of year and my least favorite time of year. I love the holidays. All the time with family, events and activities, the wonder of the season, the excitement in our kids, all the smells. It's great.

The older I get, the less I also dislike this time of year. It has nothing to do with the holidays or the hustle and bustle and everything to do with Seasonal Affect Disorder. Come November 1st we turn our clocks back one hour and it's only a few short weeks until the shortest day of the year. We leave the house in the morning and it's dark. We return home in the evening and it's dark. Many of the days are cloudy and dreary. This year we are just a couple of weeks into November and I'm already feeling affects. 

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

What are the causes? With the change in daylight it's easy for our circadian rhythms to get off. Also with less sunlight our bodies may not produce as much serotonin, the feel good hormone. Additionally, or melatonin levels are affected by the sunlight and can change making sleep more difficult or not a deep and we wake up groggy and not feeling rested. 

According to Psychology Today an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by the disorder with additional people mildly experiencing it. 

There are things that can be done to tame the affects. 

     *Follow a schedule, or rhythm in your day by going to bed at the same time and waking up the same time each day. 

     *Spend time outside in the fresh air every day, even if the sun isn't shining. 

     * Getting enough Vitamin D, I prefer fermented cod liver oil will help make up for the Vitamin D you aren't getting from the sun. 

     * St. John's Wort is a great herb and commonly nicknamed "the sunshine herb". It works with your serotonin receptor's making your body more able to use the serotonin it makes.

     *Ashwaganda is another great herb to use. It helps lower cortisol in your blood making you less anxious. It's commonly called the "stress herb". 

     *Chamomile is another great herb to use. It helps lower anxiety and gives and overall calm feeling. Taking Chamomile before bed may also help you sleep better. 

These methods may alleviate both Seasonal Affect Disorder and help with depression. They are gently and do not have the side affects that pharmaceutical drugs have. They are often more cost effective as well.

If you want additional information contact me, I'm happy to walk with you on your health journey. 

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