Have you ever felt a sort of doom and gloom come over you once summer ends and fall starts approaching? Maybe you don’t wake up with as much energy anymore; going out with people feels so tedious; and as soon as that sun starts to disappear in the later day, you’re ready to crash — even though it’s only four o’clock in the afternoon.
But, have you ever continued to experience this in the spring months, even when everyone else seems to be getting back to their normal happy selves? If you have, you’re not alone.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — or seasonal depression as it’s most commonly known — is a season-induced melancholy that affects a vast amount of the population every year. Most people assume SAD only happens during the winter months, but it can actually affect people all the way up through spring and until summer returns.
What causes seasonal depression?
As the seasons change, so do we—our routines, behavior, sleeping patterns, energy levels, our desire to socialize. There is no one-size-fits-all reason why people suffer from this form of clinical depression, and the reasons might be a little different for each individual person. But, there are several causes that have been identified.
Some of the common causes of SAD include:
- Vitamin D deficiency (lack of sunshine) that decreases your production of serotonin (the happy hormone)
- Increased melatonin production (the sleepy hormone) due to inactivity
- Being already prone to depression or having a preexisting mental illness or disorder
- Living in regions that are, on a regular basis, darker and cloudier rather than sunny
There are a variety of factors that go into why you personally might be suffering from seasonal depression in spring; you might have all or only a couple of the symptoms above.
Springtime seasonal depression symptoms
Symptoms vary person to person, but there is a standard set of symptoms that typically affect people struggling with SAD in both the winter and springtime.
- Chronic feelings of sadness or depression
- Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
- Sleeping for very long intervals
- Increased fatigue despite sleeping so much
- Negative thoughts, even suicidal thoughts
Having an occasional bad day, or even several days in a row, doesn’t necessarily mean you have seasonal depression. Experiencing several of the above symptoms might mean you do.
How to ward off the springtime blues
When you’re struggling with seasonal depression, it can be difficult to find the energy or motivation to do any sort of in-depth research to learn how to combat it.
That’s why we created this comfort kit for you to reference whenever the dewy blues hit.
Take a Vitamin D supplement
The purest, most potent form of Vitamin D is sunshine; we need this vitamin for a variety of reasons, but namely, to boost our serotonin. Unfortunately, in the gloomy winter months, and the rainy spring months to follow, we typically never get enough through organic means, like sunbathing.
Get your body moving
Everyone likes to have a lazy pajama day every now and then, but seasonal depression can make you live in your pajamas; this is when you find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into melancholy. You don’t have to force yourself to engage in some rigid exercise regime, but it would greatly benefit you to commit to moving your body for at least 10 minutes a day. And yes, walking does count.
Take advantage of good weather
While it might be few and far in between, whenever there is a ray of sunshine, go grab however much you can. Morning and late afternoon sunshine are particularly powerful; if it’s warm enough, spend a few minutes outside in shorts and a t-shirt. If it’s too cold to go outside, open the curtains and let the sun shine through.
Remember to eat healthy foods
Almost all of us, on a bad day, crave comfort foods. Unfortunately, most of these foods are more satisfactory for our souls than healthy for our bodies. The occasional enjoyment of these foods isn’t so bad, but when you’re suffering from seasonal depression, the occasional enjoyment often turns into a regular indulgence. Stock your pantry full of healthy snacks, find healthier alternatives of your favorite comfort foods, and you’ll be good to go.
Resist the urge to become a hermit
It can be easy to withdraw from society when you’re dealing with seasonal depression, to stop going out with friends and family, to bunker down in your home alone, even if it doesn’t make you happy. Find a variety of cold-weather activities you’ll actually enjoy to boost your mental and emotional health.
While snow sports like skiing aren’t for everyone, you could instead go to the movies, host a game night at your place, bake some bread, plan a vacation, volunteer at the local soup kitchen, start a home project — there are more possibilities than your moody mind might think.
Reach out for additional support
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the thought of navigating springtime seasonal depression, consider sending a message directly to our team here at Mazzitti & Sullivan.
Give our office a call today at 800-809-2925.