Why so SAD?

Anyone else get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? According to the NHS SAD is a “type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern”. For sufferers, as the days get shorter and the weather gets more miserable depression symptoms become more apparent. But as the winter months begin to fade away in March and April so do those symptoms.

I hate the dark, cold days of winter. I hate being forced to spend more time indoors. It’s definitely this time of year when I start to feel lonelier. Friends opting for cosy nights in with their partner, rather than evenings in the beer garden we were enjoying just months ago.

Basically, the theory is that reduced sunlight during the winter months stop the hypothalamus in the brain working as efficiently. This makes your body clock go out of whack and hormone melatonin and serotonin are not as they should be. As a result suffers will feel sleepy and lethargic, mood will be low and interest in do anything at all will decrease.

If you’re suffering server symptoms I recommend you go and see your GP who will advise the best course of treatment, but here are a few of tips that work for me in helping to avoid SAD –

  • Reclaim your lunch break. Daylight hours are few and far between, if you’re working all day long you need to get out in the sunlight when you can. So wrap up warm and take yourself outside. And while you’re at it…
  • Take a walk. Regular exercise will help to keep your energy levels up.
  • Try Bikram yoga. Yoga and meditation will help to manage your stress level and doing it in 40 degree heat will make it feel like you’re on holiday.
  • Eat healthily. SAD makes us crave carbs which can make us feel sleepier and sluggish. So stock up on plenty of fruit and veg. I love a warming veggie curry on a cold winter’s night.
  • Invest in a daylight alarm clock – it wakes you up gradually with light to mimic the sun rising and can help to regulate your body clock.
  • Make plans. Get out with your diary with friends and plan some fun activities throughout the winter months. Maybe go watch some comedy or even a walk along the beach in the winter sunshine. Laughter like exercise releases endorphins.

If you’re feeling depressed or alone the Samaritans are available around the clock, call 116-123.

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