If the colder months are especially challenging for you, it is possible that you may be suffering from a seasonal affective disorder. The winter months are the time of the year when this type of major depression strikes. Those with limited exposure outside due to severe weather, illness or reduced mobility are more likely to experience this. It is important to understand what seasonal affective disorder is to know how it affects you. Read on to find out more about how senior living in Dallas, TX can help people who are suffering from seasonal depression.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs usually in the winter. The symptoms can greatly affect your mood, appetite, energy levels and sleep. When it is cold and it gets dark early, you may feel sad, tense, hopeless, or stressed, with no interest in meeting friends or doing activities that you enjoy. Affecting mostly women, about one to two percent of the population suffer from SAD.
A milder form of the disorder also known as ‘the winter blues’ affects 10 to 20 percent of the population. In fact, the disorder is most common among people who live further away from the equator due to the varying amount of daylight received. However, no matter where you are in the world, you can get the disorder and effectively treat it like any other mental illness.
Ways to Prevent and Manage the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Know the risk factors
It is important to be aware of the risk of developing SAD. This helps you to be more proactive and notice the symptoms sooner. SAD is more common in women than men, and people with past depressive experiences or a family history of depression are at higher risk. Those who live far from the equator where there is less natural sunlight increase the likelihood of getting SAD.
- Increase light exposure
The first step to preventing and managing SAD is to get more exposure to natural light. Open the windows to your room to allow more sunlight in, or spend most of your time in the brightest rooms of your house. Moreover, even if it is just a 10-minute walk, getting outside in the sun each day can be beneficial to your mental health. Consider taking part in light therapy to increase light exposure without having to step out of the house. This is helpful for days when there are severe weather conditions or for those with mobility issues.
- Exercise Regularly
Physical activities reduce overall stress and have been proven to improve quality of life and eliminate SAD symptoms. It also helps to tire out the body which in turn improves sleep quality and duration. Older adults can benefit from simple exercise routines which build strength and reduce their risk of falling.
These are several techniques available to make this dreadful particular time of year easier for you. If possible, visit your doctor before you start feeling the symptoms. Doing this will provide you with a plan in place that will ease your transition the moment your SAD hits.