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  • Writer's pictureMahi Poodari

SAD and winter blues

Did you know that 5% of U.S adults experience Seasonal Affective disorder? (American Psychiatric Association) and 14% of Americans experience “holiday blues'' (Healthline)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as seasonal depression, is a specific form of depression linked to changes in seasons. People experience this condition during colder months due to decreased sunlight exposure which affects the body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm regulates essential biological processes such as sleep and wakefulness. Unlike SAD, the "winter blues'' are more related to the stress of the holiday season, including financial pressures or the inability to be with family and friends during festivities. According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms of SAD include feelings of sadness, changes in appetite, disruptions in sleep patterns, a sense of worthlessness, and difficulty concentrating. In addition,  Healthline notes that holiday blues include increased fatigue and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.  While symptoms of SAD often improve with the arrival of spring, various treatments (light therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and antidepressants) have proven effective. Light therapy involves sitting in front of a light-emitting box, mimicking natural sunlight without harmful UV radiation. Seeking professional help is crucial when dealing with symptoms of SAD to determine the most suitable treatment. To cope with these challenges, individuals should limit alcohol consumption, as excessive intake may exacerbate depressive symptoms. Introducing new holiday traditions may contribute positively to mental well-being. According to Apartment Guide, new traditions could include having a spa day, visiting a museum, engaging in baking, reading a book, attending a tree lighting ceremony, or exploring a holiday market. Due to the increased symptoms of SAD and the winter blues, we hope that these suggestions allow people to have a restful break and navigate the holidays with ease.

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