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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Timeless Health Tip

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a collection of depressive symptoms some people experience during the shortened daylight hours of winter.

Spend time outdoors to fend off seasonal affective disorder

A holistic approach to treating SAD includes light therapy, dietary changes, nutrient supplementation, exercise, and the use of essential oils, which can bring some aromatic light into the dark of northern winters.

Classic Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms include depression, mild anxiety, lack of energy and enthusiasm, overeating, oversleeping, craving sweets and other carbohydrates and the inability to concentrate.

To treat SAD, do the following.

Get outdoors for an hour or so a day, even when it's cloudy. Up to two hours a day of phototherapy - light treatment directed to the brain through the eyes - helps the majority of people with SAD.

White fluorescent lighting is recommended. According to researchers, full-spectrum lighting works no better and is potentially harmful to the eyes and skin. Anti-depressants help some people.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are effective in reducing depressed feelings and anxiety which can lead to reduced energy, changes in weight, sleep patterns, and focus and concentration. Another effective TCM therapy is qigong. Qigong is a system of breathing and physical exercises practiced to cultivate our energy. It is used by many as part of a meditation practice.

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