6 Tips for battling Seasonal Depression

Seasonal affective disorder, or conveniently abbreviated as SAD is a type of depression that usually starts and ends at the same time each year. Many begin to experience their symptoms at the beginning of fall, typically lasting into late spring. Changes in weather and sunlight are thought to be major factors when you couple that with the holiday season, it’s no wonder. While you may not be able to change environment, there are a few things you can do to stay on top of your game this winter.


  1. Get good sleep… Seriously.

    We know, so obvious.. But seriously IF your only going to attempt one thing on this list, this is the one. Not only do we mean sleeping an adequate amount of time each night but waking up on a routine schedule as well.

2. Spend time outdoors.

Not only is the sun outdoors but fresh air too! Although it may be freezing where you live, allocate time each week to spend outdoors. If you live in a colder region, invest in quality outdoor gear so you can enjoy your time longer.



3. Exercise.

You don’t even need to go outdoors (but you should). Regular cardio is crucial to circulation and blood flow. If you don’t have access to a gym check out some at home work outs here. When at work or shopping, try taking the longer routes or using the stairs. Stretching at your desk can be easy and improves mobility.



4. Phototherapy

Also known as light therapy, which is exposing yourself to artificial daylight via a lamp emitting a specific temperature of light. It is meant to mimic sunlight and appears to alter chemicals in the brain linked to mood. It takes a few days to weeks to begin to notice any changes, but many suffering from SAD report benefits. This is a low cost therapy that can be done at home.



5. Diet

Its cold and dark out, you just got off work and are very tired, you haven’t been following rule number one of this blog and you stay up late and sleep in. What do you want? PIZZA!.. It can be easy to fall into the same routine of eating out or eating poorly, especially with time being a factor. Altering your diet even a little during SAD season may seem subtle but your body will thank you.



6. Be a positive optimist

Get out of here with yo negative “it’s so dark, It’s so cold” banter. Embrace the cold and dark, it’s not forever but it will be back! Don’t live your life in a state of negativity because these aren’t your preferred climates. If you refuse to or can’t afford to follow the endless summer, then kill the cold with kindness (to others).



Quick mentions

Some people experience depression around the clock, so for them SAD just exacerbates their issues. In cases like that these tips may not be enough. Anti-depressants can often backfire and make issues worse. TMS therapy or Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non invasive therapy that treat major depression without medications. If you live in a Cold dark place like Alaska, and suffer from Major depressive disorder then TMS therapy may be right for you learn more here.



Egg Nog and Brain fog

 
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The holiday season is a time to get together with friends and family. Often times this means coming together after not seeing each other for extended periods of times. For some people it truly is the most wonderful time of the year, while others do not share the same sentiment. Somethings we do share are changes in the brain during this bustling season.

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Over the years different studies have been conducted to investigate why our brain are highly susceptible to emotional change at this time of the year. For some it can be reliving vivid memories triggered by familiar scents and sounds. Others go through increased levels of stress and anxiety brought on by all the “joy”. These occurrences can cause even the most mature minds to regress. Regressions don’t have to be drastic or harmful in nature and often times are subtle. For example take someone who hasn’t been home in over 5 years, suddenly his adult kid brother flings food at him in jest. If this were to happen say, in a board meeting this could be resolved in a professional manner. At the holiday arena… I mean table, even the “adultiest” adult can not resist retaliating in some way or another. This form of regression can occur because the person if so comfortable with the familiarity of their surroundings that they have regressed emotionally, even if just for a moment. Some can chalk this up to nostalgia. Nostalgia is a feeling of connection with something that is gone or a longing to return to the past. A holiday dinner can provide very similar and comforting feelings of youth. Our brains will sometimes go a step further and return to those same mannerisms. So if you are a working professional and your sibling makes you want to punch them in the face during Christmas dinner, relax its perfectly normal.

 

Turkey Naps, a myth?

 

Welcome to Brain Freeze and our first official post! With mans favorite holiday coming up we thought we would try to put an end to the ever revolving door that is Turkey naps.

A Turkey nap is the sudden onset of sleep after over indulging in thanksgiving dinner. For years many people attributed the presence of the amino acid tryptophan as the suspect of sleepiness, though that does not appear to be the case. Tryptophan as stated,is an amino acid that is found in many foods and a known precursor to the hormone melatonin. However, research has shown that the average portion of turkey does not contain enough tryptophan to induce sleep. Rather the combination of starchy foods and over-indulgence at holiday meals is said to cause the lazy feeling.

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Other research has shown that the minor increase in tryptophan can lead to elevated serotonin production which can promote interpersonal trust in others and in turn makes for a great dinner atmosphere.

So if you are looking to stay awake for dessert minimize your carbohydrate intake and drink lots of water, oh and a little extra turkey wont hurt!

Happy Thanksgiving.