Seasonal affective disorder is one thing a lot of people know little about. However, A 2016 study from Auburn University cast doubt on whether cooler temperatures bring on bluer moods, but until the science settles, here are a few symptoms that may indicate you have seasonal sadness.
You’re All About Fast Food
When you’re tired, your body naturally cranks up cravings for carbohydrates, which are its preferred energy source. Unfortunately, since you also do less during the cold seasons, the combination can increase your weight.
Instead of embracing carbohydrates, build meals around foods rich in omega-3 fats that naturally increase serotonin levels (try salmon, sardines, and walnuts) and tryptophan, a building block for serotonin (try turkey, eggs and spinach). You can also add vitamin D to your foods too.
You’re Not Sleeping Well
Nights are longer in winter, so sleep patterns can shift naturally, but chronic oversleeping or difficulty waking in the morning may be signs of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to the Center of Counseling and Psychological Services at Drew University in New Jersey.
You’re Less Functional At Work
Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago found in a 2013 study that employees are more productive and enjoy greater vitality when exposed to natural light.
If your work requires you to commute to and from the office in the dark and you don’t don’t have the luxury of sitting near a big sunny window while you work, the lack of daylight exposure can zap your sleep at night and leave you less functional during the day.
Furthermore, it can also leave you feeling irritable and make it harder to concentrate, according to research from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
You Drag Yourself Around
Having less energy can be a symptom of many conditions, but during the cold months it’s often a symptom of SAD. You might notice decreased energy, feeling moody, and having less interest in things you used to enjoy.
If your symptoms occur consistently at the same time of the year, you may want to consider getting assessed for seasonal affective disorder.