Here we will discuss ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder in Florida. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression or mood changes that occur during seasonal changes. Many people may not realize that SAD can affect individuals that live in locations like Florida that have primarily warm weather, but the slight drop of ten degrees at the start of winter can trigger this disorder.
If you are a Florida resident struggling with Seasonal affective disorder, keep reading to find out how to combat it.
It may sound counterproductive to go outside when dealing with symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but sunshine can help satisfy the body’s desire to have warmth. Additionally, sun exposure encourages the release of our brain’s happy chemicals called serotonin, meaning that the sun is a natural anti-depressant. Luckily, Florida weather changes are not usually significant enough to halt all outdoor activities.
You may not feel like being very active when depressed, but studies show that getting exercise can be as effective as depression medications. Researchers observed that just 30 minutes of physical activity each day is enough to release endorphins and bring you back to your baseline.
Cannabis can help alleviate symptoms of depression by restoring the body’s endocannabinoid function and relaxing the brain with its euphoric effects. Being a cannabis patient is required for purchase, and you can learn how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida here. All forms of cannabis can help treat symptoms of SAD, but the most effective are flower, CBD, topicals, edibles, and more.
Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors are anti-depressants that can be an effective solution for those unable to find relief elsewhere. SSRIs inhibit the secretion of serotonin, which is a hormone that causes depression or feelings of sadness when low. The length of time a person takes anti-depressants for seasonal affective disorder is usually much shorter than a person with major depressive disorder.
Feeling stressed or having high anxiety levels is common for individuals with seasonal depression. Stress and anxiety often lead to feelings of depression, causing a vicious cycle.
You can relax by doing things like:
- walking on the beach
- Reading a book
- Going to a spa or sauna
- Go shopping
- Go fishing
- Do some yoga
- Play golf
- Go to a museum
- If you nip the stress in the bud by participating in the relaxing activities that you enjoy, you may be able to avoid the progression of SAD symptoms.
Maintain your Routine
The mood changes associated with seasonal affective disorder can make it challenging to maintain your daily routine, which may create more symptoms of depression. Although it may be difficult to find the motivation to continue with daily tasks like brushing your teeth or going to work, it is vital to do so whenever possible. If you can keep up with hobbies, hygiene, and responsibilities, you will feel good about yourself, and these positive feelings will combat the depressive or stressed moods.
Additionally, it is important to maintain your routine because you may become overwhelmed by the neglected tasks piling up, increasing your SAD symptoms.
Regulate your Sleep Patterns
Seasonal affective disorder occurs not only because the temperature has changed but also because the time of year itself has changed. When the seasons change, the number of daylight hours also changes, which disrupts the body’s natural clock (Circadian rhythm). This disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm also happens when you cross time zones which cause jet lag. Like jet lag, the solution to this problem is getting plenty of sleep and adjusting your sleeping pattern to correlate to the new light cycle.
For example, if the sun usually sets at 10 pm during the summer, and you would typically go to bed one hour later, going to bed at eleven would be disruptive to the body when the sun starts to set at 9 pm instead.
Combat this issue by adjusting your wake hours to match the current light cycle to eliminate internal confusion. Your circadian rhythm will not be disrupted if you do not give it a chance to notice the difference.
Seasonal affective disorder may cause symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and fatigue for some individuals as the seasons change. Luckily, this disorder is not permanent, but it can negatively impact a person’s life and well-being. You can combat seasonal affective disorder by spending time in the sun, getting physical activity, maintaining your routine, and regulating your sleep. As your body gradually adjusts to the season change, your symptoms of SAD will decrease, and you will eventually return to your natural baseline.