The colder months of the year bring many a sense of coziness and joy. However, for some women, this time of year can bring feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low energy. This feeling is referred to as seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Keep reading to learn the causes of seasonal depression in women, its symptoms, and ways to cope with it.
Are you eager for the support of an OB/GYN who deeply understands how SAD affects women? Schedule a wellness exam and talk to us about it today.
What Is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the winter when there is less natural sunlight. The exact cause of SAD is unknown. However, scientists believe it to be linked to the decrease in sunlight and, thus, a decrease in serotonin released in the brain.
Symptoms of Seasonal Depression in Women
Women with seasonal depression may experience a varying range of symptoms. Some common symptoms include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Irritability and mood swings
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Note that other symptoms that are not part of this list may present themselves. If you’re feeling depressed, talk to a healthcare provider about managing your symptoms.
Causes of Seasonal Depression in Women
The exact cause of seasonal depression is not known. However, several factors may contribute to its development, including:
Women are more susceptible to hormonal changes throughout their lives, from menstruation to menopause and pregnancy. These hormonal fluctuations can play a role in seasonal depression, as they can affect mood and energy levels.
Research has shown that seasonal depression may run in families, suggesting a genetic component. If you have a close relative with SAD, you may be at a higher risk of developing it.
Coping With Seasonal Depression
If you are experiencing seasonal depression, there are various ways to cope with it and improve your mood and overall well-being.
Exposure to Natural Light
Since the decrease in sunlight is a significant factor in seasonal depression, getting as much natural light as possible can help alleviate symptoms. Try to spend time outdoors during daylight, open curtains and blinds to let in natural light, or invest in a light therapy box.
Exercising releases endorphins in the brain, which helps improve your mood and reduce symptoms of stress and depression naturally. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, whether it’s going for a walk, practicing yoga, or joining an exercise class.
Healthy Eating Habits
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for our health and well-being, including our mental health. Avoid excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods, as they can contribute to mood swings and fatigue. Instead, focus on a balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Talking to a therapist can be beneficial for managing seasonal depression. A therapist can provide coping strategies and support to help you navigate your feelings.
Continuous Monitoring of Your Mental Health
It’s essential to monitor your mental health throughout the year, especially during the winter when seasonal depression may arise. If you notice changes in your mood or behavior, contact a healthcare professional for support and guidance.
Schedule an Appointment With The Woman’s Clinic
If you are struggling with seasonal depression, know that you are not alone. At the Woman’s Clinic, we understand the unique challenges women face regarding their mental health.
Our team of OB/GYN healthcare professionals can provide you with personalized care and support to help manage your depressive symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
Live happier, live healthier. Schedule an appointment with the Woman’s Clinic today.