Seasonal affective disorder effects roughly 5 percent of the US population, but a recent study found that women are four times more likely to suffer from SAD as men.
In January, researchers at the University of Glasgow reported that women are much more likely than men to experience seasonal variations in depressive symptoms, which tend to peak during the winter months.
“Women are going through a lot of transitions, leaving home or attending college. They are launching their careers, or starting their families,” said Evy Smith, a clinical mental health counselor.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, feelings of worthlessness, low energy and fatigue and anhedonia, or a lack of interest in enjoyable activities.
“People are diagnosed with SAD when that person is experiencing it for a two-week period, two years in a row,” Smith said.
The good news is that it is treatable with self-care and energy management.
“Get into a regular routine, that is the key,” Smith said.
Ian Shaw, a wellness coach, and physical trainer agrees.
“Be realistic with yourself, with what type of routine I can manage,” he said. “How much time? How many days a week can I fit into my schedule?”
Whether you join a running group, take a spin class or play a pickup game of basketball, it’s about getting your body moving, Shaw said. .
“You have endorphins that get released that literally make you happier. Serotonin gets released and you really get those feel-good chemicals going off in your brain,” said Shaw.
This will help boost your confidence according to Shaw, and it helps you be more physically able.
He also suggests spending 10 to 15 minutes of your lunch break taking a walk and getting some sun.
“Finding the movement that speaks to you. Whether that is outside, whether that is in the gym,” said Shaw.
Shaw and Smith agree that a well-rounded diet will go a long way to relieving SAD. And if you continue to struggle with depression, see your doctor.