Seasonal depression is a common phenomenon that affects a large number of people every year during winter. Also called "seasonal affective disorder" (SAD), it affects approximately 13 million Americans annually.
Seasonal depression is much more than just winter blues and is a psychological state of mind due to the changing seasons, as it is typically seen in winters and fall season.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Seasonal depression can be associated with “a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.”
Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
Most people who suffer from seasonal depression do not even realize that they are suffering from this problem.
Limited sun exposure, along with freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and grey skies for days at an end, causes this bleak state of mind due to a drop in serotonin, the brain biochemical affecting our mood.
If you wonder whether you have seasonal depression, some symptoms are tell-tale signs of seasonal affective disorder.
Since winter, depression is a feeling low, grumpy, sad, depressed, or moody, lethargic, facing sleeping problems, and feeling drowsy during the day.
You may also have increased cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain. Loss of interest in your usual activities is another common sign.
Solutions for Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is a preventable and treatable disorder. Even though the cause is unclear in medical literature, dietary supplements can be of with seasonal depression.
Some herbs and herbal derivatives that can be taken as supplements to fight off the winter blues related to seasonal depression are:
5-HydroxyTryptophan is an inexpensive nutrient present in African beans that can be taken as a supplement to improve serotonin levels in our brain, as the body converts 5-hydroxyTryptophan into serotonin.
Increased serotonin improves mood and helps fight seasonal depression.
Julia Ross, MA, the author of the book The Mood Cure, claims that "As an antidepressant, tryptophan is so effective that it has repeatedly matched or outperformed many of the most established antidepressant drugs, without negative side effects so often associated with these drugs."
Ashwagandha is among the adaptogenic herbs that are beneficial in anxiety disorders and depression
Adaptogenic herbs are known to improve stress hormone levels and relax the nervous system. They regulate the production and regulation of cortisol when the body is under stress. Cortisols are stress hormones that help the body fight priority.
Ashwagandha reduces the effects of depression and anxiety and helps to balance our hormones.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that calms the nervous system. It provides a safe, herbal, and natural way to relieve stress and anxiety.
BeHerbal's ORGANIC ASHWAGANDHA ROOT POWDER WITH BLACK PEPPER is a potent formula containing Ashwagandha 4:1 Extract with Organic Whole Root Powder for a powerful holistic blend. It is reinforced with Bioperine for maximizing absorption. This blend makes this supplement the MOST POTENT Ashwagandha supplement in the market.
Rhodiola regulates serotonin and dopamine utilization in the body. This helps elevate the mood, as serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that control our moods and improve focus and memory.
Gingko has not only antidepressant properties but also anti-inflammatory, relaxant, and neuroprotective effects. It helps in improving overall wellness.
5. Lemon balm
Lemon balm acts to relax us by regulating the nervous system, thus uplifting our mood. It can be taken as tea or infusion.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is an essential element required during development and is responsible for cognitive function. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. However, over-supplementing can be harmful.
Vitamins: Vitamins are essential nutrients involved in neurotransmitter function. Out of all vitamins, Vitamin B enhances mood and helps the body to manage anxiety better. Vitamin B deficiency, especially B12 in vegetarians, has been linked to mood and anxiety disorders.
Saffron is a plant-derived nutrient. Saffron capsules are good for healthy eyesight as it contains plenty of natural carotenoids that protect the eye's lens and retina.
Apart from it, Saffron is good for boosting mood, energy, and stamina. Its antiseptic values have been in use in Ayurveda and Unani medicine since ancient times.
Saffron is also excellent in fighting stress, bad moods, seasonal depression, and anxiety. It has a profound calming effect.
The mental comfort provided by Saffron will overtake your senses, fighting stress, helping you sleep, and get you the desired sleeping cycles!
Saffron is useful in dealing with another aspect of seasonal depression that is hunger pangs and carbs cravings. It is clinically proven to suppress appetite by reducing sugar cravings, thus helping you with weight loss.
Along with healthy eating and regular exercise, Saffron can be extremely beneficial in seasonal depression.
BeHerbal's Saffron extract is a product which is free of any artificial stimulants or other additives. It can be taken daily as a supplement safely without any harmful effects. However, it is always good to consult your doctor before starting any accessories on your own.
Another supplement by BeHerbal is the Chill pill, which is designed to fight mood and anxiety-related issues. The natural ingredients in Chill Pill have been clinically shown to calm the body while also boosting clarity, focus, and flow.
This anti-Anxiety blend, loaded with revitalizing herbs, vitamins, and minerals, was carefully formulated to help your body achieve the perfect balance. Its ingredients work together harmoniously to help restore positive energy and relieve stressed nerves.
Chill pill's ingredients include Ashwagandha, Gaba, Chamomile, St Johns Wort, Lemon Balm, Scull Cap, Bacopa Monnieri, Hawthorn Berry, Magnolia, Passionflower, Valerian, L-Theanine, and 5-HTP.
Probiotics help boost and restore gut flora. Serotonin regulates mood and is mainly produced in the gut, and many other essential nutrients, including vitamin B12 and iron, are absorbed in the small intestine. For all the vitamins and minerals to be absorbed adequately in the body, a healthy gut is essential.
This mineral has calming and hormone-balancing properties, hence useful for treating depression.
11. John's Wort
St. John's Wort has been shown to improve serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin levels, which in turn improve symptoms of seasonal depression. Its extract is sufficient on its own, but on combining with light therapy, even more significant improvement in symptoms of depression was seen.
Melatonin production in our body increases when it is dark and reduces when it is light. Melatonin supplementation has been shown to relieve the symptoms of depression as it increases brain melatonin levels and suppresses cortisol secretion.
13. Omega 3 fatty acids
Fish oils are deficient in people who suffer from SAD. Omega-3s are essential for all-around brain function, inflammation, skin/hair/nails, and heart health.
Exercise acts as an antidepressant. It releases endorphins, clears toxins, boosts energy and circulation, thus increasing confidence.
Physical activity also improves blood flow, providing the blood with more oxygen. This increased circulation leaves you feeling and looking you're very best.
A quick and brisk walk for a few minutes per day is better than nothing! Whenever you're feeling low, try to keep active, go for a walk, and focus on your mindfulness.
Alternatives like yoga, walking/hiking, strength training, swimming, or dancing can be helpful!!
Sleep is essential for our bodies to heal and repair, so it’s vital for useful overall bodily functions.
Lack of quality sleep is linked to adverse cognitive functioning, weight gain, imbalanced hormones, poor stress management, and stress.
It is crucial to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to ensure your body and mind are well rested to function optimally.
Sleep hygiene is another aspect as crucial as a bedtime routine. Sleeping in a cool (60-67°F) and darkroom, limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes max, and avoiding anything stimulating too close to bedtime (such as exercise or a late dinner).
Instead of dreading winter, these supportive therapies and supplements might help you combat seasonal depression so that you can look forward to the season and embrace all that it brings.