S.A.D. – working through seasonal depression

Matt Tanner on October 19, 2020

Growing up in Indiana I remember enjoying four seasons each year. Spring has memories of lots of flowers, rain and allergies. Summer we would spend at the local pool trying to flex for the girls by doing flips on the diving board. Fall was always cooler with bright colorful leaves and bowls of my moms chili (no spaghetti noodles). And winter we would have tons of snow for sledding on the weekend and snowball fights after school.

Call it global warming or maybe I’m just getting old, but it feels like we have cut our seasons in half. Now we have hot / humid and gloomy / cold.

My wife (Chris aka Mrs. Rollfast) is a couple years older than me but looks a decade younger. She started feeling the effects of S.A.D a few years ago and we started making trips to Florida to get some beach time, sun and warmth. It was always a good mental break for me and I would take my bike, so riding outside in shorts was an option too.

What is S.A.D.?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons – Mayo Clinic

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fast forward to October 19th 2020 – the last 3 days we haven’t seen much of the sun and today it’s rainy and 44 degrees. Both Chris and I are ready to head south! Moving to a warmer climate isn’t an option for everybody, but there are things you can do at home to help fight off S.A.D. and it’s symptoms.

  1. During the winter, we’ll go outside ANYTIME the sun pops out. We made a silly video for Chris’ company last year in the snow.
  2. We invested in a red light therapy device called a JOOVV light. We both use it for 10-20 minutes in the morning to simulate the rising sun.
  3. We also increase our Vitamin D supplement during the fall, winter early spring seasons.
  4. Chris is my personal nutritionist, so we maintain a healthy diet year round, but did you know that 90% of our serotonin and 50% of our dopamine is produced in our gut? A healthy diet will help your overall mood and well being.
  5. My last tip for getting over seasonal depression is to GET OUT. Go meet your friends for a coffee, breakfast. Go to the bike shop and pick up some tubes or something cheap just to chat with the mechanics.

For more information on S.A.D. and additional resources, you can read the article that inspired todays post:

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