SAD (or seasonal affective disorder) can feel like an inescapable burden…but it doesn’t have to. Read on and discover how CBD may help with your seasonal depression.
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As fall turns to winter, we’re all affected by the shorter days. It’s easy to feel more tired, less productive, and even mildly grumpy. But if you find that these feelings grow into full-blown depression, you might be suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
While there are several management options, some still find themselves struggling with seasonal depression. Many, however, are now turning to CBD (cannabidiol) to help manage their seasonal depression. Keep reading and discover how CBD may help with your seasonal depression.
Disclaimer: We want to take a moment and remind everyone that while CBD is considered a safe and mild supplement, you should always talk with your doctor before adding CBD to your regimen.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Going through periods where you experience sadness, feel numb, or just generally don’t feel like yourself is surprisingly normal. Oftentimes, these feelings correlate to the changing of the seasons. This is sometimes referred to as “winter blues,” and many people describe feeling lighter and more carefree once the longer daylight hours of spring return.
Sometimes, however, these feelings can develop into a more serious condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). You might be experiencing this kind of seasonal depression if these mood and behavior changes start to negatively influence how you handle your daily tasks and activities.
Some of the common symptoms of this type of seasonal depression include:
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.
- Social withdrawal
- Hypersomnia (oversleeping)
- Changes in appetite or weight (usually overeating)
- Feelings of sluggishness
- Feelings of agitation
- Low energy
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
Anyone can develop this type of depression, although it’s more common in northern locations with particularly short daylight hours. A mental health professional can provide a diagnosis if you believe you’re suffering from seasonal depression.
The cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s believed that those with less serotonin activity are more susceptible. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, which might explain why these individuals are more prone to depressive episodes. Sunlight helps regulate serotonin levels, so less sunlight might mean even less serotonin. An article in Depression Research and Treatment even says that people with SAD may produce too much melatonin (a hormone that responds to darkness and promotes sleepiness).
Regardless of why someone has developed this type of depression, attempting to grit your teeth and weather the storm until spring returns isn’t always an option.
How to Manage Seasonal Depression
There are several different management options for those who suffer from SAD. Here are a few of the more common tools…
This is precisely what it sounds like. Maybe that means opening all the blinds to let in more light or maybe it means sitting in front of a sunny window in short intervals throughout the day. If you live in an area where there’s just not enough sunshine this time of year, there are even light therapy lamps that you can use to simulate sunshine.
Being active is helpful for all types of depression, but particularly for SAD. Physical activity helps to relieve stress and promote endorphins that are beneficial to your mental health. Plus, improving your physical wellness can improve your self-image and confidence.
Develop a Strict Sleep Schedule
Since SAD can influence your circadian rhythm, sticking to a strict sleep schedule will help you avoid oversleeping. Many people also need to immediately practice light therapy upon waking to help them feel more alert and ready for the day.
This encompasses a wide variety of mental health tools. Everything from meditation, yoga, and even journaling can help you develop a stronger sense of mindfulness. Whatever you choose, use these tools to help promote a stronger mind-body connection so you can be more aware of your mental state.
If you find yourself withdrawing from friends and family, socializing might be just the thing you need. Whether it’s meeting a friend for coffee or having a virtual hang out with family members, connecting with loved ones is an important part of mental health.
If your seasonal depression is severe enough, a healthcare provider may suggest an antidepressant. While not everyone needs to resort to prescription medications, there’s absolutely no shame in using every tool in your arsenal to strengthen your mental health.
Regardless of which options you choose, however, it’s important to develop a routine. If just one of these works for you, then start using that tool at the same time every day. If you need a combination of tools, then figure out when to use these tools, how often, and then stick to it. Creating a sense of regularity and routine will immediately help soothe feelings of anxiety and unease.
If you’re still struggling, however, CBD may offer the boost you need to manage your seasonal depression.
Use CBD To Help Manage Your Seasonal Depression
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the industrial hemp plant. This cannabinoid is popular for several reasons, some of which make it a particularly useful supplement for those with SAD…
CBD Can Help Manage Anxiety Caused by SAD
One of the most powerful properties of CBD is its ability to reduce anxiety. This is particularly important for those with SAD since 70% of people who’ve been diagnosed also experience anxiety in some form. It could be something as mild as a general sense of unease or even full-blown panic attacks.
Regardless of how severe your anxiety might be, CBD can help. A study in 2010 looked at CBD and its influence on social anxiety. Their findings showed a blood flow change in parts of the brain associated with anxiety. Even more than that, it’s believed that CBD may help boost the neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter helps promote feelings of calm and relaxation, so more GABA means less racing thoughts and less anxiety.
CBD Can Help Manage Depression Caused by SAD
Research from CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets indicated that CBD has, “great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound.” While the mechanisms behind depression are still being studied, research has already indicated that supplementing with CBD can have a positive effect on serotonin receptors.
Like we said earlier, this neurotransmitter influences our mood. Maintaining balanced levels of serotonin is a pivotal part of keeping your brain (for lack of a better word) happy! Another article from the British Journal of Pharmacology even said that “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine.” Imipramine is a type of antidepressant often prescribed for depression, anxiety, and some panic disorders.
CBD Can Help Regulate Your Sleep Cycle
Seasonal depression can have a huge influence on our circadian rhythm (our natural sleep/wake cycle). Normally, our bodies have low levels of melatonin during the daylight hours and higher amounts in darkness. Since there’s less light in the winter, however, the body’s melatonin levels can often become unbalanced. This is what causes some to have trouble maintaining a regular sleep cycle in the winter.
Luckily, CBD promotes a more regular sleep cycle by helping you get to sleep easier. While this may sound counterintuitive for those who suffer from SAD-induced hypersomnia, there’s a method to the madness.
Many people who have trouble falling asleep struggle with racing thoughts and feelings of restlessness. This makes it harder to prepare for a good night’s rest and sometimes it even makes it hard to stay asleep. When that happens, your sleep isn’t restorative and you’re often left feeling groggy and lethargic the next day. Add that to the general feelings of sluggishness experienced by those with SAD, and you have the perfect recipe for poor sleep and low energy.
The anxiolytic properties of CBD, however, make it easier for you to wind down and relax. When that happens, you fall asleep faster and experience better quality sleep. That means more physical and mental energy the next day.
How to Use CBD to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you’re ready to try supplementing with CBD, there are a few things you should know before getting started.
First, determine what your biggest SAD symptoms are. This will help you figure out what type of CBD products and strengths might work best. For example, if your biggest symptoms are sleep-related, you’ll probably want to use a high-strength CBD oil before bedtime. However, if you struggle more with anxiety, you may need to supplement throughout the day with a low-strength gummy. Everyone is different, but luckily CBD products come in a variety of forms and strengths so you can find what works best for you.
We recommend keeping a journal for the first few weeks to monitor your responses to different CBD strengths and the time of day you supplement. Side effects are rare and usually mild, but it’s always safest to start low and go slow. Once you’ve determined your tolerance, you can start experimenting with different types of products.
High-strength CBD oils are recommended for those who struggle with sleep problems and panic attacks. However, if you have a low tolerance, you should first try to manage these issues with a lower strength product. If you have panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere, keeping CBD gummies on hand is a convenient way to get the relief you need whenever you need it.
Find Relief From Seasonal Depression With CBD
There are so many wonderful things about this time of year–the holidays, seasonal recipes, family traditions, etc. Don’t let seasonal depression take the joy out of this time of year. It may feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but there is! Join the many others who are finding relief from their seasonal depression by supplementing with CBD.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and don’t forget to stock up on all your favorite products in our store. You deserve to live depression-free. Try CBD today so you can feel better and live more.