Last year a student and I put together a short video about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). With yesterday being the shortest day of the year, I thought this might be an opportune time to make it available again.

And if videos are not your thing, here is a really helpful article about how physiological and seasonal factors can contribute to depression. It is written in simple language, includes great illustrations, and some practical how-to’s (and how not-to’s)

The focus is on two potentially problematic areas: the importance of sleep and the effect of nutrition. Here are a few extracts:

The importance of sleep
“Sleep to a human is like refueling the car. You can’t drive a car 60 miles everyday without refilling the gas tank. The same is true with body and sleep. Adult humans need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function optimally.”

“Fatigue from sleep deprivation has many of the same symptoms as depression. Dr. Edward Welsh of the Christian Counseling Education Foundation here in Philadelphia explained that sometimes clients who feel depressed are actually sleep deprived.

This is not to say that all depression is merely sleep deprivation. But rather, certain symptoms may develop without proper sleep. Furthermore, a sleep-deprived brain can’t handle stressors like a fully rested brain. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas many people log long stressful days without balancing it with necessary sleep.”

The effect of nutrition
“Giving your body proper nutrition is like keeping all of your car’s fluids full and clean. Let me say from personal experience, if you don’t have coolant in your radiator, you will find smoke billowing out of your car’s hood.”

“If we were to put butter in the radiator fluid, it may function OK, but not optimally. If we continue to put butter into the mix, the car will eventually be nothing more than a fancy cigarette lighter. The same goes with our bodies. We treat them badly, then wonder why the feel so run down. Furthermore, when we are not giving our brains the nutrients they need to perform well, then stressors will seem all the more overwhelming. 

Every time you feed your body food devoid of nutritional value, you place the task of food digestion on your body, but give it none of the tools (vitamins, fiber, protein, and whatnot) that it needs to do the job done. This leaves your systems weakened instead of bolstered, leaving you open for attack by viruses and bacteria. Whether we end up getting sick or not, the brain is also harmed. And, when the brain is harmed we may feel depressed.”

Read the whole article here.

  • Douglas

    Thank you, this was a blessing to me.

  • Brian Mann

    amen, helpful considerations, great reminders, very benefited by your blog all around!

  • David Murray

    Thanks Doug and Brian.