Following a beautiful winter weekend, the rain seems to be back to stay for a little while here in Kentucky. Then the cold...then the rain again. Repeat until Spring.
There comes a point in the winter when it's just harder to talk yourself into being positive and energetic. Thanksgiving is over, Christmas has passed, and the joy of the New Year is starting to fade like the sun (who else is ready for Daylight Savings to end on March 8??).
It's during these times, that the "Winter Blues" seem to usher in ready to hang out until the birds start chirping. More commonly referred to as seasonal affective disorder, this feeling that many of us get during the season's changes is an actual psychological disorder. SAD is a form of depression that is related to seasonal changes, most often affecting people during the fall and winter months.
If you're diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, you may experience insomnia, poor appetite, loss of interest in activities, or withdrawing from friends and loved ones. Not to mention just a literal feeling of hopelessness accompanied with some good old guilt.
While the causes of SAD haven't been truly targeted, it is often associated with the lack of sunlight and a Vitamin D deficiency. Many sufferers even produce a high level of the sleep hormone, melatonin, as a result of the low light exposure.
Treating SAD can come in the form of counseling, prescribed medications, or light therapy. BUT, there is also an alternative. Let's talk about our plant gift, CBD , as an option for treating those "winter blues".
Supplementing treatment with CBD could prove very beneficial.
ANXIETY: Many times, the very thought of the sad winter aura, dark skies, and staying indoors can bring on a battle with anxiety. CBD affects the brain circuitry through our own endocannabinoid system which has receptors located in certain brain areas--particularly in the limbic system. The limbic system is the primary brain area which houses mood and emotion-related brain structures. CBD can prolong the action of serotonin, the happy neurotransmitter--resulting in a relaxed state of mind and decreased anxiety.
SLEEP: In my opinion, the two things that keep us awake most often are anxiety and pain. Not only does CBD help with these two symptoms, but it also helps improve the disrupted sleep pattern in people with seasonal affective disorder. It assists in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, so that a person with SAD can achieve a normal, healthy amount of sleep at night. Healthy sleep is not only helpful for our mood and stability, but also greatly improves our energy levels.
FATIGUE: Who else has just felt drained this season? There are only so many days that we can push through being the life of the party (and by party, I might just mean getting the laundry done) when our body is telling us we just want to rest--all.the.time. Fatigue associated with SAD is more than just being tired. It is literally your body's inability to catch up with your mental health. This leaves us feeling weak, unmotivated, and lethargic.
Cannabidiol increases the serum concentration of the endocannabinoid system, anandamide. This increase can help overcome fatigue, boost your mood, and give you a feeling of more natural energy.
So, where to start? I think we can all agree that SAD is a complicated medical issue. We always recommend talking to your doctor before adding any supplements to your daily regime, but we think this one is worth a conversation. Let's all work together to get through the final push of winter--surrounding ourselves with positive people, talking about our problems with your health care provider, get some Vitamin D, and try some CBD. Your endocannabinoid system will thank you.
P.S. The countdown is on, friends. Spring will finally grace us with it's presence on March 19...then we can start worrying about seasonal allergies & the aches and pains from Spring Cleaning (don't worry...there is a salve for that).