Author Topic: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?  (Read 26258 times)

Offline Sarey

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Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« on: October 18, 2011, 02:21:56 PM »
This is cross posted in the Campfire section under Morale but I think maybe it fits better over here.  ???


With winter fast upon us I've been looking into various natural treatments for seasonal depression. One thing that stands out is those special lights designed to mimic or trick our bodies into believing we are actually getting sunlight.

In looking at these “full spectrum” lights the price for the special light boxes seems absurd. I was hoping by searching the forums here to find a thread that discussed this but none of my search titles found what I was looking for.

Does anyone here know of or have experience with either the light boxes themselves or the use of the so called full spectrum light bulbs you can purchase at Home Depot or Lowes?

If you’ve used the light bulbs do they reach the suggested 10,000 lux level? I’ve read about Vitamin D and think I will start taking extra of that too.

Any other ideas, thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

My apologies if there really is another thread somewhere; I just couldn’t find one.

Irene

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 03:59:28 PM »
Beer and football on TV ;D

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 04:20:06 PM »
This suggestion isn't possible for a lot of people, but it DOES help me.

I don't want to have my bedroom be a one-window room. I want my bedroom to be a corner room so that there's at least two windows and they are each on two totally different walls. That way you are increasing your daily sunlight exposure in the one room that is "yours" by easily 50%. 

Cap Cod cottages are known for such rooms. And some farm houses also. Some forms of modern architecture tend to be extra stingy with windows. So this can often be a very difficult luxury to attain for yourself.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 04:24:59 PM »
SAD is real problem and some people really struggle with it.  I bought my wife a Philips GoLite BLU last winter, but she won't use it.  It's easier for me to get her to spend some time outside when the sun's out, and this makes a big difference for her, especially on the weekends when she doesn't have the stimulation from work.  Granted, in California we have a good deal more sun than most of the country, but winter can still bring her way down and I have to watch to make sure that she doesn't get too SAD.  You know what they say, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Offline KellyAnn

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 05:31:16 PM »
At work I try to sit by the windows in the lunch room or eat lunch in my car when it's sunny out.
I've looked at getting a "happy light" but my employer doesn't like us bringing in electrical stuff from home.
Spending as much time as possible outside (or driving around in my car) on the weekends help too.

Offline Sarey

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 07:08:55 PM »
Thank you for giving me a few more ideas. I spend as much time in the sun as I can get it just seems that it isn't enough. Ultimately it would be ideal if I could take a page out of the bears book and hibernate but we just don't tick that way.

Also extra vitamins and as many veggies as I can get are on my to do list. Hopefully this season will be better.


Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 09:40:41 AM »
I get out side as much as possible however that is not enough living in the PNW.   I try to have my chairs sitting near a window.  There is much research on Vit D that work great for me.  If you have your blood tested you may find that you are way low.  I take 10000IU a day along with b vit that really helps.  Lots of water at least 1/2 oz per pound of body weight per day. 

Paint the inside of your house white or a light yellow get rid of dark colors.  Orange is the happiest color yellow the brightest and most reflective also a color that helps your remember, then a form of white.  Painting your ceilings  a very very light pale blue like sky can help.  If you live in an apartment and can't paint. Get flat white cheap sheets  paint them or dye them (paint works better) and hang them up.  Looks like painted walls or high end linen wall paper. 

Wheat grass also helps and is easy to grow in your house.  The press can be on the $$ side but I feel is worth it.  Working out and getting your blood pumping I mean really pumping is also very very helpful.  On the days I just can't get going I will go to a tanning bed for about 30 seconds.  That is usually enough to charge my batteries for a week or better.  The most I have ever had to do that was 3 times in one winter season it was a bad year.  Usually once or twice a season works for me.   

I have not had that much luck with the light bulbs.  In my house I have regular bulbs that are rated natural light.  I also use florescent tubes in my studio 1/2 warm 1/2 cool.  The luxes are not there but it helps. Plants like it too.   Eating more live foods than dead foods.  Meaning foods that grow that way vs processed. (I am a chip junky it's hard not to have them from time to time)  The Paleo solution may help you too.  To new for me to say for sure.

Everything seems to help a bit the more I do the better I feel.  The biggest helps for me are Vit D water working out and happy environment (paint colors).

Offline nature_sprite

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 05:41:11 PM »
hey you don't need a special light box for full spectrum lighting. they sell bulbs to go in any lamp you have handy in your home. also bulbs sold in pet stores for lizards are full spectrum lighting. lizards will die far sooner without full spectrum lighting.

full spectrum lighting contains all colors of the spectrum.

flouresants contains only green and yellow... one reason why they are dangerous for humans. even those without SAD can get headaches, drain your energy and studies have proven humans devolop cavities by an extreme percentage than those to use only full spectrum.

these new mercury/spiraly bulbs are DISASTEROUS for humans. and they are making them mandatory in usa within a couple years. it's to my understanding halogen may still be available, but heard that full spectrum will be off the market for humans.
if you haven't heard the dangers on these mercurys.... youtube it. or i'll try to find the link for anyone. it's the absolute truth how these mercury bulbs wack us out...1000 times worse than flourestants.


even though the sun doesn't shine as brightly in winter time... the suns energy is still available.
i highly suggest to sit outside and go into medative mode and draw the suns energy into your field and allow it's energy to fill you up. i've done this many times and it works!!! i learned from another this technique.

also SAD can be mind over matter and every human and being alive has mind over matter. draw your strength within to not allow anything to bring you down. we all have the source to overcome the negative.

halogen bulbs are simular to full spectrum bulbs. they cost a lot but last longer and worth the money as same as full spectrum bulbs. worth every penny.

Offline KellyAnn

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 04:43:58 AM »
I have not had that much luck with the light bulbs.  In my house I have regular bulbs that are rated natural light.  I also use florescent tubes in my studio 1/2 warm 1/2 cool.  The luxes are not there but it helps. Plants like it too.   Eating more live foods than dead foods.  Meaning foods that grow that way vs processed. (I am a chip junky it's hard not to have them from time to time)  The Paleo solution may help you too.  To new for me to say for sure.

Have you tried kale chips?
My husband and I really like them.

Offline mikem

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 10:04:41 AM »
Haha no help here, in Seattle we have SAD year round  :'(

Offline EmmaPeel

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 10:51:15 AM »
I've had issues before.  Getting an Ott light for my desk at worked helped since my office had no windows.  Keeping up with my B12 shots and a good vitamin helps as well.  Just knowing it's an issue has made a big difference as I know I need to be proactive.  I have also used herbs in the past.  Exercise everyday is vital.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 07:42:05 AM »
I am trying to get out ahead of this this year! We are Seattle-area as well and last winter was the pits. We just *couldn't* get out in the weather like everyone told us to do. The mud in our yard was the kind that sucks your in to the knees!.

We'll start taking multi vitamins again (we use nutriberries. My deprived-of-candy-kids think they are candy)....We'll be eating A LOT more red meat....I want to start incorporating high-vitamin organ meats into our diet too....More fish....More raw milk...

I don't know what else. Vitamin D from the doc for sure if the other things don't cut it. I'll try to stay busy this year. I go into a halfway hibernation mode without sunshine, I think.

Offline Sarey

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 01:27:14 PM »
I hadn't even thought about eating more red meat. That's one I'll be adding to the list as well as checking out the full spectrum lights. Anything that helps and doesn't cost an arm and a leg is on the table.

My snowshoes are already hanging "On the Barn Door with Care" and in the meantime hiking is perfect here this time of year.

Sarey

Offline eronious

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 09:06:03 PM »
Actually, I found a different solution.  I tried all the full spectrum lights because my case seemed pretty severe (undiagnosed, just personal observation). I was crabby, had terrible sleep patterns, was gaining weight at an alarming weight... you know, all the classic symptoms of SAD.  Anyway, I read that regulating your sleep patterns can help.  I'm already a terrible sleeper because I tend to worry on dumb stuff when I'm lying in bed and the next thing I know the sun is coming up.  So the prescription I came up with that helped me a lot was a sunrise alarm clock, melatonin, not eating for at least a few hours before bed and less caffeine and alcohol.

The first was the most important.  I found that as I was getting up while it was getting darker and darker, my mood likewise darkened.  I hated it and everyone around me.   :pissed:  So I figured if I could wake up with the light, it would really help.  I found a model I could plug my existing lamp into because I thought those bulb-ish ones looked dumb.  I liked this model also because I could then experiment with different kinds of bulbs and wattages to find out what worked (in the end I chose as close to a full spectrum LED as I could find).  It also allowed me to set the length of time for the sunrise (about 15 minutes works well for me) as well as sunset!  At night, if I find I'm getting off my sleep schedule, I'll take a melatonin about 45 minutes before I want to be asleep then set my "sunset" for 45 minutes and read some fantasy novel brain-bubblegum.  By the end of that 45 minutes I'm out and I awaken refreshed with the "sunrise."  I find not drinking especially on weeknights and limiting my coffee somewhat as well as not messing with my circadian rhythms by eating too close to bedtime helps me get the best sleep I can.  Also, if I find I'm worrying about something, I get up and make a note of it so I can make sure I take care of it the next day, which relieves the worrying, but that's not really SAD related. 

Anyway, I'd highly recommend working on your sleep cycles, especially your mornings because it's a lot less painful to be awakened gently like that which will set the tone for the rest of your day.  I'm usually awake before the actual alarm goes off.  Nothing like being jarred out of a deep sleep by an annoying sound to set you off on the wrong path from the get go!  Good luck!   ;)

Offline Cedar

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 09:23:38 PM »
For the last 3 years before I left Oregon for Canada I was getting it. All the sunshine on the snow up north I never had it. Was questioning the other day if I was getting S.A.D. again.. but hiking alot.

Cedar

Offline Sarey

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2012, 08:08:52 AM »
One thing I have noticed this year is my food choices. If I eat plenty of veggies, meat and fruits I feel a lot better. Once I start adding starchy foods and sweets to the mix I feel more depressed.

I do have one of those light boxes and have it on behind me while I read. I can't stand it shining in my face and it still seems to work.

This winter in Maine has been pretty mild and I've been outside a lot more then usuall for this time of year and it's been fun hiking in such in the snow.

Sarey

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 09:36:27 PM »
This was my first winter using the vitamin supplements D and SAM-e.  I think they helped as when I went a week or more without them I could tell a difference. Much happier with than without.

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 10:41:43 PM »
  I'm already a terrible sleeper because I tend to worry on dumb stuff when I'm lying in bed and the next thing I know the sun is coming up.    ;)

I have started taking GABBA and it helps me quiet the mind.  In turn helps me sleep. In turn helps SAD Fibro and most important prevents me from going postal.  Low or poor quality sleep makes me very ugly by the 4th day  >:(  2-3 hours of on and off sleep in 24 just don't cut it. 

Offline Klonus

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 11:42:58 AM »
The way that I deal with SAD is taking daily walks when weather permits, taking vitamin d supplements, and occasionally tanning. I'm from the north and I usually visit the southwest so I try keep myself from burning to much by prepping my skin. Being outdoors is probably the best solution. Atleast for me.

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2012, 10:39:46 AM »
I get SAD in the winter every year to some degree.

3 winters ago I had just been laid off and we had the WORST winter we've had in decades (the "Snowpocalypse").

At the house I lived in at the time, we had a weird porch-like room that overlooked the park where I lived, 3 stories up from the ground. The room was poorly insulated and cold enough to freeze a glass of water sometimes in the winter — but during a sunny day, the room would get up to 90 degrees while it was 20 outside because the sun was low and shined directly through the windows.

During that unemployed winter I was VERY depressed, and one day I came up with the idea to go lay down in the sun in front of that window on the couch, watch some movies or whatever for 2-3 hours at a time. I would wear nothing but my Umbro shorts and just let the sun hit my whole body like i was tanning.

It helped tremendously. I can really say I felt a huge difference every time I did it.

The other things I have done to get over winter depression have been to start skiing again this past winter — that ALSO helps tremendously because when a huge snowstorm blows in, instead of being angry and upset about it, it all of a sudden becomes EXCITING and makes you want to get to the ski slopes as quickly as possible. Just having something to look forward to is extremely helpful.

I got back into skiing last winter and spent less than $300 +/- on used skis, tune-up, boots, and discount lift tickets to go a handful of times and it only gets cheaper now that I have all the gear I need. It is not exactly a cheap sport to get into but there are things you can do to make it bearable. It is worth it for me because it transforms winter into something COOL instead of something DREADFUL.

Also, even more expensive but totally worth it — plan vacations KNOWING you are going to want a break from winter. I have gone places like Vegas or Orlando in February really cheaply ($99 flights and $45/night hotels in vegas for one) — with a 2 day grand canyon excursion in there...

Being able to hike through the desert when it's 70 degrees out and sunny for a few days, or go hang out on a beach for a few days with lots of sunshine never hurts!

I even have Virginia Beach and some other places in my weather app on my phone just in case they get a warm streak in the winter and I am home cold, and bored because it is an easy half-day drive for me and camping right on the beach is not very expensive down there. I can do a weekend down there for about 2 tanks of gas, and $20 a night for state park camping right on the beach.

When they get a 70 degree weather streak while it is snowing here — its totally worth the drive. I've done that a few times over the years.

I am the absolute last person who wants to go outside when it is cold, but having a good reason to, and/or splurging some money on a trip to get away from it has always helped me a TON when it comes to dealing with the SAD.

My worst winters were the ones I could not afford to do any of that stuff and kept myself cooped up indoors for the 4-5 months it is cold.

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2012, 10:52:58 AM »
Quote
My snowshoes are already hanging "On the Barn Door with Care" and in the meantime hiking is perfect here this time of year.

An even cheaper solution like skiing that is sure to work great! I want a pair of snowshoes and now that they are all cheap as hell on craigslist I of course am not interested because it is spring now LOL.

I did search for cross country skis this last winter on the cheap because there are TONS and TONS of places to X-country ski for free where I live if there is enough snow, and most of my mountain biker friends do it so I'd have company.

I usually go downhill skiing alone because it is expensive and my family hasn't really done it yet, but something always gets in the way for all of us to go on the days where it would be cheap as hell for everyone to give it a try (monday / tuesday deep discounts). I only have one other friend who is a good downhill skier and he lives in Alaska now skiing real mountains.

Anything you can find that you actually enjoy outside when it is cold is the best thing for SAD. I never used to get depressed as a kid in the winter — but then looking back my friends and I were ALWAYS outside doing SOMETHING and we always got plenty of sun.

Offline Klonus

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 04:47:56 PM »
I totally agree about the skiing and snow shoes. I'm partial to cross country skiing since its great exercise so you stay warm even in extreme cold.

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2012, 11:08:27 AM »
Back when I was mountain biking more, I always enjoyed doing it in the winter — but HATED the process of getting ready for it. Even when I go skiiing, it is an ordeal to get ready for it, layers of clothing etc etc.

But the coolest part of mountain biking when it was really cold is that all the trails get frozen solid and become rock hard, and your tires really grip as if you are on pavement and you can really ZIP through trails that are otherwise muddy all year.

Any physical activity like that, people freak out when I am basically wearing a shell and a wicking T-shirt (I can't even remember a time when I went skiing with a sweater on), because all that physical activity warms you up.

I see people who do not go out in the cold much, dress in many layers and then have to pull over because they overheat and have to dump all of them vs. myself where I may start out cold and shivering a little bit, but 5 minutes into the ordeal I am comfortable.

I can say for certain that my energy has been on a big upswing overall the last few weeks. I went skiing 2 weekends ago but it has been 80 degrees outside ever since and now my lawn is overgrown and my bushes I wanted to trim back while they were brittle and easy to work with are all sprouting and budding like crazy.

Winter really does drag most people down.

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2012, 06:34:22 PM »
I've used the lights before and I think they helped.  I recently started taking vitamin D and those seem to be really making a difference.

One thing I try to expose myself to sunshine coming into the house.  I'll move my chair over while reading or on the computer and take my shirt off to get more skin exposure.

I'm currently working on building a passive solar sunroom/greenhouse so I'm hoping that will help a lot as well.

Offline Hilly

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2012, 06:53:14 PM »
I get the blues every winter, too. This year was less severe. I really think that keeping busy doing things you enjoy, getting regular gentle exercise, and taking vitamin D supplements helped a lot.

If you spend more time doing something enjoyable and constructive, you'll spend less time feeling sad.

When inside, sit near a sunny window if possible. Get some house plants and living things to care for to remind you it's not always going to be cold/snowy/dark.

Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2012, 11:38:39 PM »
Does anyone experience the opposite of SAD?  I get cranky and tired when the sun starts showing up for longer hours in March and April because that means winter is ending.  On the other hand, from September until mid-March, you wont find anyone who is happier about it being dark and cold.  I don't mind summer itself, but spring sucks!

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2012, 09:40:56 PM »
Never heard of that, sorry.

I've had tons of energy the last couple of weeks.  It might be the sun, but I've also cut out a lot of carbs and diet sodas (all sodas really).  Maybe all three things are helping/

Offline mrdan

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2012, 04:23:45 AM »
I too used to deal with being cranky during the winter. I honestly didn't know it had a name, I just called it,  I hate winter.

About 10 years ago, when I got married and we had our first child, I was severely challenged to keep up my usual lifestyle (surfing, winter trips, etc.). That was the first time I noticed that winter really sucked. I decided I needed some new hobbies. I also noticed that all seasons have their place and their positives. I built a new shop behind my house, put in some heat, and started learning to weld. Over the years I've moved, built a new shop, bought machine tools, attended classes, etc. I would still get dumpy in the winter, but not as badly. The key thing for me was about 4 years ago. I started putting things into the season that they belong to. By that I mean during the summer I take the family boating, camping, etc. That's the time to get away. Yeah, everyone does that. I didn't. I worked all the time. During spring, it's time to plant and work in the garden. And most importantly here, during the winter, I'll be in my shop. If I have projects that require shop time, I DO NOT WORK ON THEM unless it's winter. Actually, I won't work on them unless it's below a certain temperature. I'm not talking building ships in a bottle, I'm talking building a wood splitter, a new wood stove, etc.

What I've found is that because all my projects tend to pile up, come winter I am way behind and have to work extremely hard just to knock some of them out before spring gets here. I'm talking getting up at 4-5 am to get into the shop to get to work and coming out at 6pm to get dinner. My wife is happier because I give her a good answer for when things get done (Why can't you spend more time in the house with us?, When are you going to get that door fixed?, etc) First answer is summer, second answer is this coming winter. The big difference for me was that instead of being desperate for spring to get here, I find that the closer to spring I get, the more harried I get to get into the shop and try to finish. I actually get a little cranky if spring comes too soon, as it did this year. That's like being upset that the Mrs. wants too much boom boom, to quote Heavy G's marriage advice column. It's a good problem to have.

Anyway, that's my advice. Find something that is a winter task that you enjoy, and do it only in the winter. Worked for me.

Offline geoffreys7

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2012, 09:46:04 AM »
Looks like I just joined the club.  Went to Doctor last week already being treated for depression.  Office called yesterday and said I am very low on  Vitamin D so he called in a prescription for it to my pharmacy, I need to take twice a week and go for another test in 6 weeks,  :(

Offline Kate Change

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Re: Seasonal Affective Disorder what helps you?
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2012, 07:05:41 PM »
When I lived in Canada, we used to take codliver or fish oil in the winter.  (It's got vitamin D in it too.)  We took the pill form because the liquid is kind of gross.  My mom used to feed us extra fish when we were grumpy, she said it would help.  She always picked fatty fish like salmon and tuna.  I've never felt particularly affect by SAD, so I don't know if that's because this was the amazing solution it was cracked up to be, or if I'm just more prone to other things.  We also used to down hill and cross country ski alot, so we were still outside a fair bit.