I will admit I have been struggling lately. Struggling with work, with running, with school, and with life itself. I cannot pinpoint the exact reason. Maybe it has been being ill, first a nagging shoulder injury, then a UTI/kidney infection, then the flu, then the migraines, then some slight knee pain and finally a stomach virus. Maybe it is just the winter and the lack of warmth and sunlight. Maybe it is the goals I think I want that seem so far out of reach that it is discouraging.
Honestly I am not sure what it is but I am just not myself. I feel unmotivated and just plain blah for lack of a better description. Some days I feel I have taken on too much right now from finishing my Bachelor’s degree to training for a 2nd marathon in the Spring to writing this blog. My stress level is through the roof and for no real good reason. I am also having some pretty bad anxiety at night that is definitely interfering with my ability to sleep. I really am just not myself.
I think I may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depression associated with seasons. According to Mayoclinic.org “symptoms specific to winter-Onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include: irritability, tiredness or low energy, problems getting along with other people, hypersensitivity to rejection, heavy “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs, oversleeping, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, and weight gain” (reference #1). Considering I have every single symptom listed I’d say there is a pretty good chance I am affected by SAD to some degree.
Winter SAD is mostly to blame on the lack of sunlight and considering I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in months I am pretty sure that this is the culprit. In addition I also suffer from a vitamin D deficiency which is very common in the United States and can also be a contributing cause to SAD according to this research article on Medical News Today (2).
I started taking a non-GMO multivitamin and a pure vitamin D last week and I actually am starting to feel better already.
I don’t know if it is the placebo effect or if the supplements are actually working, but either way my mood is stabilizing. Another remedy for SAD according to Dr. Weil is moving closer to the equator (3) and considering the winter we are having in NY this year I would say that is a definite possibility in the near future.
I am going to focus on eating better, taking my vitamins, and eliminating as much unnecessary stress from my life as I possibly can. Hopefully we will get a little bit of sun this week and my mood will take a positive turn. I have also added yoga and strength to my workout regimen and it is definitely helping my mood, now hopefully it will also help my running!
Have you ever experienced SAD? How did you treat it?