Now that we’re in the midst of a New York City winter, many people experience the winter blues. It’s not just that you may not like traipsing about in grey slush or falling on your bottom going up icy stairs. You’re suffering from a real phenomenon called “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD).
We’re mostly about laser hair removal at Romeo & Juliette, but we also keep an eye on health trends. So, for this blog, let’s explore why some of us get SAD every winter.
What exactly is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder is a well-researched condition that is considered a sub-type of depression. Symptoms accompany changes in season from summer into fall/winter. Those symptoms closely mimic those of depression. The difference with SAD is that those symptoms are limited to approximately the same times each year, whereas true depression can occur anytime and be ongoing. Research shows that those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, where seasonal changes are more pronounced, experience SAD more than those in the Southern Hemisphere.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
Some people wouldn’t qualify as a full SAD diagnosis, but most people still experience changes in energy, motivation, sleep patterns, and moods as the warm weather disappears.
These are defined symptoms of SAD:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, most days
- Difficulties sleeping
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal ideas or thoughts of death
- Feelings of hopelessness or low self-worth
- Decreased interest in activities usually enjoyed
- Sluggishness, low energy
- Social withdrawal
Why do we get SAD?
There is no direct causal link with SAD, but there are a few factors thought to contribute.
- Reduced sunlight affects the body’s circadian rhythms (internal body clock), which can lead to feelings of depression.
- Reduced sunlight causes a drop in serotonin levels, which lead to depression, as serotonin affects moods.
- Disruptions to melatonin levels, which also affect sleeping patterns and mood.
Decreased exposure to sunlight and the decreased interest in going outdoors obviously play a large part in SAD.
What can you do?
Here are three tips to help ward off SAD this winter:
- Ensure you get at least one hour of outdoor light each day. Morning is the best time.
- Make an effort to keep socially active.
- Make sure you stay physically active.
This may take some effort, but there’s an old Norwegian saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” There’s a lot of truth to that. A good coat, hat, and warm boots can make the winter weather far less daunting.
And, of course, getting your unwanted hair removed in our warm, comfortable offices at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal is a good way to spend a couple of winter hours! Call us at 212-750-2000 to make an appointment.