When the weather gets cold, you tend to spend more time inside than outside, which can mean less sunlight, fresh air, and exercise. Lack of movement and unwillingness to leave your warm home could contribute to irritability, tiredness, difficult concentrating, or even a craving for sweet, warm comfort foods. This could be your body’s response to the change in seasons, or you could be one of the 10 to 20 percent of people who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is termed as a type of depression that is related to seasonal change, meaning that it begins and ends around the same times every year. Most people with SAD start experiencing symptoms, such as loss of energy and change in mood, in the fall and throughout the winter months.
The good news is that SAD has many effective treatments, such as adding more sunlight to your environment. You can open up the blinds or sit closer to the windows to catch some vitamin D. Although it is cold and the sun is nowhere in sight, your best bet is to go for a walk outside. Exercise is important for relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety, which is beneficial for also reducing SAD symptoms. Similar to sunlight, another beneficial treatment is light therapy, in which you wear a light visor or sit in front of a light box for 30 minutes every day.
To brighten your meals and to fill your nutrient recommendations, it is important to include lots of colorful, whole foods in your diet. It may sound silly, but the more colorful and unprocessed your meal is, the more health benefits it provides. Eating nutritious foods can also boost your mood and regulate your body. We compiled a list of bright, nutritious foods for you to enjoy during the fall and winter, when SAD hits hard. These foods may not treat the disorder but the nutritional benefits will leave you feeling healthy and happy.