Seasonal Affective Disorder
A few tips …
Continuing on from our previous wellbeing blogs which you can read here and here today I wanted to talk to you a little bit about a condition - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because it affects a lot of people every year. If you suffer from it yourself you will know that SAD can strike from Autumn onward as there is less natural light, reduced hours of daylight too, and we spend less time outside so our exposure to Vitamin D drops, & with the cold weather people can feel miserable & lethargic among other symptoms.
Things to notice in yourself that may mean you have SAD
- Low Mood
- Sleeping for longer than usual and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- Loss of enjoyment in your usual activities
- Feeling irritable
- Eating comfort food resulting in weight gain
If this is something you have struggled with there are steps you can personally take to address it.
1) Regular exercise - Committing to regular exercise is a great way of boosting your happiness. If you work in an office why not ask a colleague to come out for a walk at lunchtime with you, or if your family likes the outdoors suggest you explore somewhere new at the weekends. A walk around a new local park, or even a trip out in the car somewhere like a National Trust property can really help to fight the blues this winter.
2) There are lamps that you can buy called a light box that you can use to boost the natural light you get during winter. Many people report increased feelings of wellbeing after using one of these.
3) Talking to others about the feelings you experience. Knowing you are not alone in this may help you. You can either look for support groups local to you that address SAD, or you could consider finding a group that you enjoy taking an active role in such as a book club, and knowing you have enjoyable time for yourself to talk and be peaceful may also help you feel happier.
During the winter we all have those urges to hide away, eat food that is laden with carbohydrates to warm us up & comfort us, but those things can often make us feel worse instead. By addressing your feelings and knowing you are not alone, you can hopefully fight back this winter instead.
Of course we also have to remind you that if you are finding things very difficult you should make an appointment with your GP as well.
Thank you for reading