According to the Mayo Clinic, there are other causes for SAD: "Your biological clock (circadian rhythm), melatonin levels, and serotonin levels." Hmm. For those of us who aren't psychologists, I'll put this into layman's terms.
Our bodies have internal clocks that tell us when to sleep, when to eat, when we need to have babies, etc. The lack of sunlight seems to be able to "disrupt your body's internal clock," causing your melatonin and serotonin levels to drop and BAM! depression arrives. Melatonin is a hormone that helps maintain steady sleeping patterns and serotonin is a brain chemical or neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood. So when your Serotonin goes haywire, so do your moods.
But before you reach for your pills, wait! I may just have a flourescent light bulb bright enough to keep you from reaching for your collection of Poe.
COLOR, BEAUTY AND LIGHT! Springtime may be a while off, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate its eventual arrival with a splash of pastels, neons and sparkle. (FYI: Jude Law is in there to serve as a natural anti-depressant of sorts.) The Mayo Clinic agree with me, suggesting that sufferers make their "environment[s] sunnier and brighter." Fill your life with springy color and you'll be surprised with how much more sun you'll find in your life.
The fashion world seems to understand the importance of freshness and color in life. Just look at the runway. From the rosy 3.1 Phillip Limset to that stunning blue Alexander McQueen print , vibrant color reigns supreme. And even if, like me, couture is a little bit out of your price range, there are SO many other (equally wonderful) options. Everyone loves color, and so you won't be able to walk into your favorite store (except maybe White House/Black Market) and find nothing but shades of gray. Everyone loves color. And designers want to capitalize on that adoration, so naturally, you'll find color.
Forever 21 blouse. For only $22.80, you can seriously give yourself a new kind of blues. Haha. Oh, I kill myself. Ugh.
But really, it astounds me what power a touch of color can have over mood. I try to include a colorful piece in every outfit I wear because I know that SAD gets me quite severely.
In a way, wearing vivid hues is like a preventative vaccine against depression. Color your mood and you'll considerably build up your immunity.
But color can't do it all. You're probably wondering why I included in my collage a couple of items that really don't appear to belong.
During the winter, I find it not only helpful but necessary to find hobbies to fill my time. Don't sit around the house twiddling your thumbs all day, unless of course you want to go back to the bottle. Go to a museum, take up photography, exercise at the gym, peruse the local Borders or Barnes and Noble and read some new novels/foreign fashion magazines while sipping on lattes (or in my friend Caryn's case, hot chocolate.) Take the time to fill your life with things that make you happy, that give you pleasure. Don't let the clouds rain all over you without putting up a fight.
That's why I included the transparent umbrella from Urban Outfitters. Classy and simple, the umbrella lets the natural light from the sky shine through, brightening all rainy days significantly. "Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help," continues the entry at the Mayo Cliic. It's organic, beautiful light. Using a stylish umbrella like this one can really only serve to make users happier.
Fill your life to the brim with shimmering, simmering excitement. The moment you give in to boredom is the moment SAD wins a point. And even if you fall off of the wagon for a day or two, that's okay! We're all human, right? But just climb back on and smile at the promise of spring.
Images courtesy of Style.com, Modelcouture, Forever21.com, UrbanOutfitters.com, Uglydolls.com, Amazon.com and FashionGoneRogue.com.