Are you sad or SAD?

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As the days grow shorter, getting out of bed becomes a chore. It begins to feel more difficult to maintain the standards presented at work or school. Lack of motivation is suddenly an overwhelming factor that interferes with daily routines and hobbies. If this scenario sounds familiar, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder is more common than one might think, and the normalization of it would help people to know that their feelings are valid, and there are many ways to diminish the struggles associated with SAD.
With the colder months drawing nearer, holiday spirits are on the rise. For people experiencing the dejected mood and low energy brought on by SAD, more commonly known as seasonal depression, something more prevalent is their increased melatonin levels.
Mayoclinic.org states that symptoms of SAD include, but are not limited to, feelings of hopelessness, oversleeping, irritability and difficulty concentrating. However, these symptoms are often overlooked, and brushed off as typical mood swings. Although mood changes are common with people who experience seasonal depression, it is much more than just feeling down.
It may seem silly to believe that people can become depressed simply because of colder weather, but according to Psychology Today, SAD affects up to 10 million Americans each year. Longer hours of darkness and shorter days can increase the levels of melatonin in your system and lower your levels of serotonin, resulting in biological symptoms of depression.
There are many ways to cope with SAD. Maintaining self-care routines, and engaging in activities such as meditation are simple treatments you can practice from the comfort of your home. If clinical care is needed, therapy and prescription medication is also an option.
Contrary to popular belief, seasonal depression is a very real and a very common disorder that should not be put on the backburner. In order for it to become normalized and help people handle their seasonal challenges, knowledge on this subject should be more widespread. Recognize the symptoms and provide resources for those in need.