Outdoor activities like hiking are helpful to boost your mood in winter. TUCHONG
In October, temperatures across China begin to drop. Do you experience a mood shift as it turns to winter?
Many people do. For about one in 20 people in the northern half of the United States, cooling temperatures and shorter, darker days may signal the onset of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that typically arrives in the fall or winter, The New York Times reported.
Not every mild blue feeling in winter is SAD. SAD symptoms make it difficult for people to function. It tends to start with an increased appetite for foods like French fries or ice cream, the eagerness to sleep longer hours, difficulty getting up in the morning and feeling wiped out at work, according to Wales Online.
The exact cause of this disorder remains unknown. But the good news is that because SAD is tied to the changing seasons, “you can predict its onset and ward it off,” Michael Terman, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, US, told The New York Times.
“There’s been a fair bit of research since about the 1980s supporting light therapy as being effective for seasonal kinds of depression,” psychotherapist Rakhi Chand told The Guardian. But she also advised using this type of therapy under the guidance of a professional.
While light therapy is the first recommended treatment for SAD, getting outside regularly can offer other opportunities to soak in some light. “You might want to retreat like the hibernating bear, but don’t,” Norman E. Rosenthal, the psychiatrist whose research team identified and named the disorder in the 1980s, told The New York Times. “Walking outside even 20 or 30 minutes each day could make a huge difference,” he added. Therefore, outdoor activities like skiing or hiking are highly recommended.
Also, instead of giving in to sugar cravings, it is important to choose foods that are known to boost one's mood such as dark chocolate, nuts, oatmeal and berries, according to Egypt Today.
Too nervous to enter winter? Remember, SAD is seasonal. If winter comes, can spring be too far behind?