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How to avoid being SAD during the Winter Months
By Dr. Tracie Yautz

Tracie YautzAre you among 20% of the population who experience reoccurring depression/anxiety especially in the winter months? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common affliction due to the days being shorter, darker and rainier. People who have SAD report feeling “normal” in the summer months. 

Some common symptoms of SAD are: hopelessness, anxiety, social withdrawal, oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, difficultly concentrating, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.  
Medical treatment utilizes anti-depressant drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) with side effects that are not appealing.

If you want to avoid medication, here are some natural approaches for seasonal sadness.

  • Supplements: St. John’s Wort to promote restful sleep and enhance dreaming has been shown to be effective. This extract has been thoroughly researched as a natural anti-depressant. Studies have shown St. John’s Wort produces improvements in anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and without side effects. 
  • Food: Increase your ingestions of essential fatty acids from fish, eggs, flax, walnuts, almonds, broccoli and spinach. Some plants are more effective than SSRI drugs. As are amino acids like L-tryptophan and 5-HTP, and B vitamins. 
  • Flowers: The flower essence Mustard has shown to lift the shadow of gloom from the light and joy of life. Flower essences can be applied directly to the skin or tongue, or added to your water and ingested.
  • Essential Oils: Jasmine essential oil acts as an anti-depressant and euphoric. Citrus oils, like lemon, can stimulate feelings of happiness. Many people diffuse essential oils in their homes and offices.
  • Colors: The colors yellow, orange, and red stimulate mood. These colors can come from foods, clothing, lighting, and room décor. Even music can be used to alleviate depression.  
  • Exercise: In the winter months exercise can be challenging but very helpful.  Bundle up, find a gym, or a buddy to help keep you motivated. A 20 minute walk outdoors at noon is all you need as this increases your exposure to natural light and can raise your spirits. Set your timer for 10 minutes and walk briskly. When the timer buzzes, turn around and head back. Before you know it, you’ll be walking 140 minutes a week and experiencing the positive side effects.

Tracie L. Yautz is a wholistic practitioner and the owner of Divine Health Naturally with offices in Pittsburgh and Harmony. Learn more at www.DivineHealthNaturally.com.

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