sad girl in blanket

What is Seasonal Depression?

sad girl in blanket

You’ve likely noticed over the years that your mood is at risk of drastically declining when the seasons change, or more specifically, in autumn when daylight saving time comes into effect. Days get shorter, mornings are as dark as night, and you don’t seem to have that same spark in your soul that you feel in summer.

People typically understand this emotional swing as “seasonal depression.” What most don’t realize, however, is that there is a scientific term for this phenomenon. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the true name of the emotional plague that grips society as the seasons change. 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder 

sad girl in sitting in bed

SAD is a depressive period, typically lasting the 4-5 months of autumn and winter, during which you feel an intense negative emotional shift. Naturally, this affects everybody differently and can range from a light feeling of sadness to a completely debilitating affliction. 

However, SAD has a noticeable effect on your life regardless of its intensity. Note that while SAD is typically associated with winter, it arises in summer in rare cases. The two types of this SAD are known as winter-pattern and summer-pattern.

SAD, being a form of depression, affects every aspect of life. It hinders motivation to complete even the smallest of tasks and it challenges the way you think, feel, and behave. SAD is particularly fierce in Ottawa as we experience some of the harshest winters on earth and suffer from increasingly shorter days year after year.

What are the Warning Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Although not identical, SAD has many overlapping symptoms with major depression as they both behave in very similar ways. The primary difference is that SAD is dependent on the changing of seasons whereas major depression operates regardless of the earth’s circumstances. 

Specific symptoms of winter-pattern SAD are anti-social behaviour, weight gain as a consequence of overeating, and excessive sleeping. The symptoms overlapping with major depression include a lack of motivation, feeling low energy, problems with focus, self-doubt or insecurity, and much more. 

You can prepare strategies to combat SAD once you determine whether or not you’re experiencing SAD. While there are things you can do to help mitigate the effects of SAD, contacting an expert that specializes in depression counselling in Ottawa is the best way to defend against SAD. Contact the experts at Capital Choice Counselling Group to receive personalized treatment for SAD in Ottawa.

3 Tips for Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder

Vitamin D

sad girl sitting near windiw

Low vitamin D levels are connected to depression. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter connected to emotions such as happiness, is regulated by vitamin D. Thus, a lack of vitamin D has a direct correlation with a lack of serotonin and positive emotions as a consequence. Vitamin D is created by the body when exposed to sunlight or ingested when consuming vitamin D heavy foods (or supplement pills). Maybe sure to stock up on vitamin D foods and/or supplements before winter!

Spend time outdoors or near sunlight

Remember how we mentioned that the body creates vitamin D when exposed to sunlight? It’s true! Rather than ingesting vitamin D, you can create it by going outdoors. Consider going for a walk outside during your lunch break throughout the SAD-related seasons and you may see an increase in your mood!

Stay Active

Exercise helps alleviate SAD by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that release sensations of pleasure and well-being. Working out your body also alters your metabolism, helping you feel more energized and ready for new challenges. You’ll certainly feel tired, but exercise fatigue is significantly healthier than fatigue as a result of SAD.

As we mentioned, these strategies will help you mitigate the effects of SAD, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll improve or cure the disorder. Contact Capital Choice Counselling Group for treatment for SAD and depression counselling in Ottawa.

Personalized Depression Counselling in Ottawa

Everybody is different and so is each case of SAD and major depression. Capital Choice Counselling has years of experience in helping people navigate their feelings and disorders with the goal of opening the door to a brighter future. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you with treatment for depression and SAD in Ottawa.