If you feel drowsiness, irresistible fatigue, are in a bad mood, and your productivity has dramatically decreased, you may wonder - what is happening to me? Before rushing to the doctor, consider if any factors could be the reason for your mope. In fact, it may be SAD, which makes you sad. What SAD means, how to withstand it, and be back to your happy and productive self - all this you'll find in this blog.
What is SAD?
SAD is an acronym that stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a type of depression related to the change of seasons, typically starting in the fall and continuing through the winter months. Symptoms include low mood, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and decreased energy levels. It is believed to be caused by genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors, mainly a lack of exposure to natural light. Therefore, it is treated with a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and light therapy.
Symptoms of SAD can include sadness or hopelessness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. If these symptoms are aggravating, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health professional. However, in most cases, you can alleviate the symptoms by making some changes to your lifestyle.
Here are some SAD-coping strategies that may help boost productivity and combat seasonal affective disorder.
How to Deal with SAD?
Dealing with the seasonal affective disorder will require from you quite a bit of discipline and determination. But, on the bright side, you can work out useful, healthy habits that will become valuable life-term assets.
Regulate your circadian rhythm
Exposure to natural light can help regulate your body's circadian rhythm, which is vital for maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle. So even on overcast days, going for a walk or spending time outside can be beneficial.
Try light therapy
A lightbox is a device that emits bright, artificial light that mimics natural sunlight. Sitting in front of a lightbox for 30 minutes to an hour each morning can help regulate your body's circadian rhythm and improve your mood.
Implement stress-management techniques
Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Setting aside time for self-care activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath, can also be beneficial.
Stick to your daily schedule
It may help you boost productivity by setting small and achievable daily goals and making a manageable to-do list, so you have a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.
Regular physical activity can enhance sleep, mood, and boost energy levels. It's also great to exercise outside and get some natural light. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity workout, such as brisk walking, biking, or swimming, on most days of the week.
Get enough sleep
People with SAD often have difficulty sleeping but getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health. Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Also, minimize using digital devices emitting blue light as it inhibits the production of a sleep hormone, melatonin, and avoid caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime.
Seek professional help
If your symptoms are affecting your daily life, it may be worth asking for help from a mental health professional. They can help you develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and provide guidance and support in recovery.
Break up large projects into smaller tasks
Instead of thinking of a project as one big task, which doesn't seem easily achievable, break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. This way, you can focus on one thing at a time and not feel overwhelmed.
Take regular breaks
Recharging breaks can help reduce stress and improve concentration. During these pauses, step outside, go for a walk, or do a quick mindfulness exercise.
Stay connected with family and friends
Psychologists say that social support and the feeling of belonging to "your clan" significantly improves mood and reduces the sense of isolation and loneliness. Reach out to a friend or family member for a phone call or video chat, and you'll feel how therapeutic those invisible connections are.
How Can Standing Desks Help Overcome SAD?
Using a standing desk may be another way to cope with SAD. Many people who suffer from SAD have a deficiency in Vitamin D, produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. By standing at a desk instead of sitting, it may be possible to spend more time near a window and increase exposure to natural light.
Additionally, using a standing desk can also help increase physical activity levels by switching from sitting to standing, which can be beneficial for people with SAD. Moreover, simple exercises and stretching that you can do at your desk during your working day have been found to be an effective way to combat depression. And finally, alternating sitting and standing gives you a bit of movement throughout the day, helping you stay alert.
It's important to mention that while using a standing desk may help alleviate some symptoms of SAD, it's not within its power to make you get rid of the seasonal disorder. SAD is a complex condition requiring comprehensive treatment, including medication, light therapy, and psychotherapy.
We're all different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some experimentation to find the strategies that work best for you. So be patient with yourself, and don't hesitate to seek professional help if you need it. And if you need our support learning more about standing desks, don't hesitate to reach out!
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