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  • Writer's pictureN.P. Lexi Johnson

Seasonal Affective Disorder: What Is it, What Triggers It, and How Can We Manage It?

Hey Physical Dimensions Fam! Let's talk about something super important: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

  1. What is it? This is a certain type of depression that can happen during certain seasons of the year, most often in the fall and winter.

  2. What can trigger this? There are many biological and societal reasons that could make this time of year difficult, even for those of us that want to lean into the cozy fall vibes:

    1. Some risk factors include: genetics, geographical location, Vitamin D deficiencies, stress expectations, trauma, and social isolation.

    2. Less exposure to sunlight can disrupt your circadian rhythm (your internal clock) and diminish levels of important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine-this can contribute to sadness, stress, and poor eating patterns. Reduced sunlight also leads to overproduction of melatonin, causing increased sleepiness.

  3. How can we work to better manage SAD?

    1. Vitamins and hydration- consider IV or IM injections to help boost levels like Vitamin D, and improve hydration

    2. Light therapy- brighten up your indoor environment- with sun lamps for the morning and evening

    3. Get outside during the day- keep your body moving with gentle exercise and some natural sun exposure during daylight hours

    4. Keep on a schedule-both during the day and for sleeping, try and go to be and wake up around the same time daily

    5. Make plans to be social- isolation can contribute to negative thinking patterns

    6. Start journaling-processing can help improve mood and get negative feelings out

    7. Make yourself a priority-sometimes the stress of feeling like you need to be everywhere all the time and compete for the holidays can be overwhelming, saying no is okay

And most importantly, if seasonal affective disorder is something you may struggle with, seek professional help. Stay cozy and happy fall y’all.

N.P. Lexi Johnson is the Nurse Practitioner at Physical Dimensions.


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