Everything was fine during the summer. 

Then November hit. Instead of anticipating the holidays, you felt depressed. Out of energy. You lost interest in the activities you used to enjoy doing. Maybe your diet changed, too. 

The symptoms of depression can be startling – especially when there’s no apparent reason for them. But for many Americans, these feelings can be a season of their own, particularly when daily light decreases in winter. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), these depressive feelings are recognized as legitimate depressive disorders experienced by millions each year. 

SAD’s no fun. It can turn a happy time of the year into a joyless slog. SAD can also throw a monkey wrench into your routine, robbing you of the energy to work out, eat right, and just be your best self. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to turn SAD around and enjoy winter without feeling like there’s weight over your head. 

Natural sunlight shining through window.

Tip #1: Put Yourself In A Better Light 

Get as much natural sunlight as you can when it’s available. Even five minutes outside on a work break can help. If that’s not an option, there are other light sources you can use. 

Don’t dismiss the idea of light therapy –it’s a great way to lift emotions when things get dark. There’s a huge variety of sunrise clocks, lightboxes, and dawn simulators on the market – make sure you get one that uses full-spectrum light, though. Full-spectrum light is the closest you can come to natural sunlight. These simulators seem to work, too. 

If you’ve been making use of an infrared sauna (a great idea during the winter, too), try incorporating chromotherapy into your routine. Like sunrise clocks, exposure to certain shades of light really can lift emotions and leave you feeling better. 

Tip #2: Take A Shot Or Two 

Vitamin deficiencies can trigger SAD. Consider getting a vitamin injection – it’s the fast lane to picking up your emotions. Getting an extra boost of B12 will boost you in more ways than one, uplifting your emotions, strengthening your focus, and giving you a good burst of healthy energy. Getting a shot of vitamin B7 (also known as biotin) can help you look (and feel) your best, too. 

Need an additional boost? Look into an NAD+ injection. Scientifically known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, this is a potent coenzyme that helps our cells function efficiently. NAD+ can give your metabolism a kickstart, slow aging, help your brain be its best … and fight off the depression, anxiety, and fatigue of SAD. 

Tip #3: Get Proactive 

If you think you’re feeling down because of isolation, you might not be wrong. A 2020 article in The Lancet examined the impact quarantining would have on mental health, and determined it would have long-term negative emotional effects on people – including depression. 

It’s a great idea to take advantage of things as they reopen again. If you can, meet up with friends, attend holiday gatherings, or even get outdoors by yourself if that isn’t possible. Outdoor activity can uplift the spirits, too. 

If that’s not doable because of weather or scheduling, remember you can always video chat with friends and family. Seeing familiar faces will pick you up. 

Tip #4: Live By A Schedule 

Regular schedules can teach your body to adapt to the changing seasons. By setting regular wake and sleep routines, you’ll expose yourself to light at regular intervals, helping your system navigate the changing light hours more easily. Plus, SAD can mess with your sleep patterns. Regular sleep will help lessen depressive symptoms and leave you feeling much better. 

If you’re watching your waistline, eating at regular times is a great way to stop overindulging, especially during a time of the year when there’s plenty of snacks around. Depressive disorders like SAD can cause people to gain weight, too. 

Glass of ice cold water on table.

Tip #5: Drink This, Not That 

People have turned to alcohol for comfort for centuries. It’s a mistake – alcohol is a depressant and can make depressive symptoms worse. 

Having a drink once in a while to de-stress is fine, but don’t make a habit of it. Drinking while depressed can start up a harmful cycle of behaviors that could potentially lead to addiction. Also, you’re more likely to make bad decisions when you’re drunk, which can make a bad situation worse. Finally, alcohol’s mostly empty calories, and a drinking habit can throw off your healthy habits – which can make you even more depressed! 

Instead, focus on staying hydrated –  a study in 2018 found adults who drank more water had less anxiety and depression than those who didn’t drink as much. An additional study discovered people who drank a lot of water felt tense and less happy when they drank less water 

What Causes SAD Anyway … And Are You At Risk? 

As of now, researchers don’t know if there’s a specific cause that triggers SAD. According to the Mayo Clinic, potential causes may include: 

  •        Changes in melatonin:Seasons can disrupt the body’s chemistry, including the levels of melatonin. Melatonin, a hormone released by the brain’s pineal gland, regulates mood and sleep. 
  •        Low levels of serotonin:Reduced levels of sunlight, whether due to a change in the weather, going off daylight savings time, or changing a work schedule can throw off your body’s chemistry in another way – specifically, it can lower your levels of serotonin. Another hormone, serotonin regulates moods and feelings of happiness. 
  •        Your biological clock needs recharging:Decreased sunlight might throw off your internal clock, causing you to feel down. 

It’s also unclear who’s at risk for SAD – the Mayo Clinic reports women are diagnosed with SAD more often than men are. Having a family history of SAD or other depressive disorders might be a factor, too. Also, if you have been diagnosed with a mood disorder like major depression or bipolar disorder, your symptoms might get worse as the seasons change. 

The American Academy of Family Physicians reports around 20% of Americans may have a milder form of SAD, with 4 to 6% having a more severe form of the disorder. 

One last important point: If your depressive symptoms are seriously affecting your life and responsibilities, contact your physician. 

Fight Winter Blues At Sculpt Spa: Las Vegas Vitamin Injections, Infrared Spa, And More 

If you think you’re feeling SAD as winter looms, you could use a little self-care. Sculpt Spa in Spring Valley is Las Vegas’ ideal destination for aesthetic treatments and everything else you need to fight off the winter blues and be your ideal self. 

We offer a full range of vitamin injections, a state-of-the-art infrared sauna, NAD+ shots, and other ways to feel and look your best. Don’t let the winter blues ruin your holidays – contact a Sculpt Spa expert now.