According to the National Institutes of Health, six percent of the US population is affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. More of the population, about 14 percent, experience the ‘winter blues’, a less severe form of SAD. As the brain struggles to adjust to the lack of daylight hours, there can be side effects of sleepiness, sadness, irritability, and hopelessness. SAD can be combatted by maintaining important lifestyle techniques and picking up some new ones for the season.
The last thing you wanted during the cold season that’s bringing you down is to be more cold. However, a cold-blast activity like a cold shower can help trick your sympathetic nervous system into gear, producing sadness fighting hormones.
Seasonal affective disorder can leave you feeling out of whack, tired, lethargic, and fatigued. Men easily lose their workout routine in the winter as they opt to warm up indoors. Regular exercise produces endorphins and dopamine, feel-good chemical hormones in the brain that can fight the chemical imbalance of SAD.
Isolation is a warning sign of recovery. Everyone is prone to and occasional due a bit of privacy, solitary, and introspection. Too much time alone can trigger cravings for drugs and alcohol in the brain. When struggling with SAD, socializing is even more important. The winter blues feel more vibrant and less dull when engaging with other people. Get more involved in your recovery community by reaching out to others, sponsoring men, volunteering for commitments, and asking where you can be of service.
A lack of sunshine affects the way the brain produces regulatory hormones throughout the day and also affects vitamin D levels. Taking a high dosage of Vitamin D can help replace that loss. The supplement 5-HTP helps boost serotonin in order to combat the sadness.
Daytime and sunlight hours are limited during the winter. In areas like Portland, the sun is rare to come out during the winter. There still are, however, daylight hours. Maximizing the small amount of daylight possible. Getting outside has benefits year round, providing fresh air, blue sky, green space, and more. Blue skies and greenery might be hard to come by in the winter, but fresh air is plenty when you’re surrounded by mountains and forest. Take walks when you can, hikes when you can, and get to the mountains for snow adventures as much as possible. Thankfully for men recovering in Portland, Mt. Hood is just under 100 miles from the city.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474