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Turn seasonal affective disorder into seasonal effective order

Turn seasonal affective disorder into seasonal effective order

It’s getting colder when getting out of bed again and the snooze button has never been more attractive. Days feel gloomy and everything feels tiring. These are all symptoms of a winter depression kicking in. The official term for winter depression is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD in short. SAD is supposedly caused by a mismatch between your sleep-wake cycle and other biological processes in your body that occur in 24 hour cycles, called circadian rhythms. 

As a career lion, you’ll have no time to waste on being unproductive during the whole fall and winter season. Especially not when it’s because you’re feeling miserable rather than some cosy cocooning with Netflix, tea, and chocolate covered kruidnoten (a Dutch treat). Therefore, I’ve researched how you can turn seasonal affective disorder into seasonal effective order.

Things to do in the lion’s den

Light therapy

The most effective treatment or method to prevent winter depression is light therapy. Bright light in the morning has a positive effect on decreasing symptoms of winter depression. Other researches have shown that infrared light exposure to the body has also been beneficial to treating winter depression. An example of a lamp to use at home for this kind of therapy is the Philips EnergyUp.

Avoid aspartame

Aspartame is a sweetener that is used often to replace sugar in food and drinks. It can be found in light soda’s, artificial coffee sweeteners and candy among others. If you ask me, you should always avoid aspartame since having a sweet sensation in your mouth does not make higher risks for cancer worthwhile. But it is especially important when you suffer from winter depression. Aspartame changes the ratio of amino acids in your bloodstream and decreases the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and tyrosine. Serotonin is our happiness chemical. When experiencing unhappy times higher levels of the neurotransmitter are definitely welcome. The amount of serotonin in our system can be increased by taking vitamin D and eating nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts.

Fix micronutrient deficiencies

A lack of vitamin B has been found to have a relationship with both anxiety and depression. Also, it is quite common among all people to have a deficiency in vitamin B12 specifically. Luckily a vitamin B deficiency can easily be fixed by taking a daily vitamin B100 or B complex supplement. Additional pros to taking a higher vitamin B dose are better hair- and nail growth and you become less attractive to mosquitos. Not the worst effects, if you ask me.

Colour therapy

We’re automatically wearing more dark coloured outfits during the colder months. This is unintentionally creating the opposite effect of what we’re trying to achieve here. As Birren explains in his book “Colour psychology and colour therapy; a factual study of the influence of color on human life” observing more bright colours actually contributes to a better mood. So tomorrow morning when you’re choosing an outfit to wear, try and incorporate more bright and vibrant tones like yellow, orange, and red. And the next time people say to you “your outfit matches the colour of your soul”, at least it won’t be black. And, yes, I have been told that before. 

Things to do at the workplace

Take breaks regularly

During the winter season it is hardly uncommon one leaves for work while it’s dark to only return back home when it’s already dark again. Try to make use of the time at the office to take regular breaks and not overwork. Take a nice walk to get some air and soak up the sunlight, light therapy: check!

Break up your work into small tasks

Do not get discouraged by your work load, but try a different, more accessible approach by breaking up your work into smaller tasks. Your mind can be tricked into positive thinking rather than a negative spiral by making your progress more apparent. This also means you’re allowed to buy extra cute stationary for these to do lists (yes, I just gave you another legitimate reason to buy stuff).

Listen to upbeat music

While you’re working through your work tasks it can be nice to listen to music, if the task allows you to do so. Even though no scientific evidence has been found that listening to positive and upbeat music has an effect on one’s behavioural response, it does something in the brain that lifts up any heavy mood. And let’s be honest, a little Bieber fever is better than having real fever.

As the days get shorter and the nights are getting longer I seem to have more trouble waking up in the morning. Winter depression might be going a bit overboard to describe the slight change in mood I am experiencing, but I do hear a lot of people complaining about this matter. What is your experience with turning seasonal affective disorder and how do you deal with it? How do you turn it into seasonal effective order? You just might help out your fellow career lion in the comments section below.

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