Seasonal Change and Depression & Anxiety

In the PaciDepression01fic Northwest we have had a wonderful Summer full of warm, bright  and sunny days. Then suddenly we had dramatic weather change, in a 24 hour period we went from mid-90ties to low-70ties and rain.

And have you noticed our daylight is getting shorter, we are losing 3 minutes of daylight every day. The sudden weather change, increasing darkness and rain is an indication the seasonal change is occurring.

Seasonal changes can trigger lethargy, difficulty concentrating, depression, negative thoughts, elevated cravings for carbohydrates with corresponding overeating and weight gain, hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness), tiredness in the morning, and decreased social interaction. People typically become more depress and anxious by the end of the summer as we anticipate the coming months of dark grey cloudy days and the never-ending rain.

Here’s are few tips to help decrease your depression and your anxiety.

Stress: Stress spikes the hormone cortisol that keep us in an emergency ready state, the fight or flight state. Being in a constant state of readiness taxes your body and immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu.

The 5 R’s of stress reduction.

  1. Reorganize: Develop a healthy routine.  Include “me” time, make a date with yourself to do something just for you. Work with lots of light by the windows to allow exposure to natural light.
  1. Rethink: What your mind tells you about a potential stressor determines whether it becomes an actual stressor.  Notice how many times a day your say “No”, “I can’t” or “I knew that was going to happen”.  Change your thinking  to “Yes” or  “I can” or  “I’ll try”.
  1. Reduce: When you’re overwhelmed, even fun things lose their appeal and become stressors. The key is to find optimal balance of activity, so you aren’t under stimulated (i.e., bored) with your activities or over stimulated (i.e., overwhelmed).
  1. Relax: A lot of people are so stressed they don’t know what the absence of stress or a calm mind feels like.  A hot bath or shower, walking, mediating, or exercising for 20 just minutes a day can help reduce stress tremendously
  1. Release: Physical activity whether it be mild, moderate or vigorous can release your tension. Mild activity can be walking your dog. Moderate activity such as yard work. Vigorous activate can be a brisk walk or lifting weights. Any type of activity can release your tension.

Sleep: People with depression and anxiety tend to have disrupted sleep. People who have insomnia seem to be more susceptible to depressive symptoms. Too little or too much sleep can aggravate depression. Wake up and go to bed the same time every day, including weekends. Avoid naps during the day, which can interfere with sleep in the evening.

Food: Food and depression is a complex relationship. With depression and anxiety one may crave carbohydrates in the form of starches and sweets. If needed, consume breads, pastas and pastries made of whole grains instead of white flour. Add more protein to the diet such as nuts, lean meat, fish and small amounts of fat from cheeses or other sources; some fresh fruit; and plenty of cooked leafy vegetables, whole grains and baked vegetables such as yams or baked. potatoes. Avoid overeating or gaining weight. Both will make you more tired and more sensitive and depressed.

Negativism: Negative people can exacerbate depression and anxiety.  People tend to get caught up in the other person’s negativism.  Well-meaning friends and family may try to cheer you up and tell you that you will “snap out it”.  As well-meaning as they are, they don’t grasp how depression actually affects your life. Avoid or limit your interactions with negative (toxic) people.

News Media. Upsetting and disturbing news and stories can exacerbate depression, for example the death of Robin Williams. Limit your exposure to negative news. Watch one nightly newscast to keep you updated with the world. But don’t watch CNN endlessly.

Whether a person is on medications or not, acupuncture treatments help provide a balance when life feels unbalanced, overwhelming, or scary. Acupuncture is very effective at treating the insomnia, physical pain, food cravings or aversions, and fatigue that go along with depression and anxiety. For these people, acupuncture has become a part a tool in their toolbox to combat depression and anxiety.

Let me help you combat your depression and anxiety. Call today (206-455-4172) to schedule your appointment or schedule appointment online.

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