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Are you SAD?

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) goes beyond the winter blues. Many people will say they are suffering with SAD, when in reality they are just feeling tired or disliking the winter weather. Beijing is an easy place to feel a bit blue when the days are short and the weather bitterly cold, but how can you tell whether you are experiencing the symptoms of SAD or are just having a bad week?
People with SAD experience a variety of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms that impairs their daily functioning. They’re usually unable to perform at school or work and have difficulty interacting with others. Tasks that once seemed simple, such as household chores or paying the bills, suddenly become overwhelming. However, unlike conventional depression, SAD is unique in that it always recurs at a particular time of the year.
Extensive research has shown that light boxes work well in boosting mood and energy. Light boxes emit artificial light that mimics the sun’s rays. They emit anywhere from 2,500 lux to 10,000 lux. (Lux is a measure of intensity.)

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However, some small changes to your lifestyle could also effectively ease the symptoms of SAD. Try taking time out of your day to go for a walk in a brightly lit park area around midday; wake up at sunrise to ensure you take advantage of the full day of sunlight. You can also restrict your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant, but can also have the effect of a depressant if you consume too much.

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