The days are getting colder and the sun doesn’t seem to be shining as much. Getting out of your cosy warm bed in the morning might be feeling more and more an impossible task.
It’s true that as winter makes itself comfortable, your mental state could very well be negatively affected. Perhaps it’s even more than that.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a very real thing!
SAD is a type of depression that is associated with the change in seasons, typically starting in the fall and lasting through the winter months. Whether you just have the winter blues and need some positive rays of sunlight thrown your way, or think you could possibly be dealing with SAD, we have some great information to help you enjoy the colder months a bit more.
"It is during our darkest moments, that we must focus to see the light.” - Aristotle
Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder?
First things first, let’s try to figure out whether SAD is truly affecting your life.
Many of us experience mood shifts that come along with the colder and darker days of winter. Winter blues brings along some laziness, feeling less social, and even trouble sleeping.
You might be feeling lethargic and gloomy, but ask yourself, do you feel that your ability to enjoy life is being affected? If your answer is yes, then it might be time to look into Seasonal Affective Disorder a little more closely. SAD is much more complex than cursing that cold breeze and potential snowstorm on the horizon. It can affect your relationships and work. For some people SAD is debilitating.
Good to Read: Natural Remedies for Seasonal Change Sickness
The disorder has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain that is triggered by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight. As the environment shifts more in this direction, your biological clock gets out of step and causes the effects of SAD.
Your body can start producing an abnormal amount of melatonin, making you feel sleepy. The lack of sunlight is speculated to reduce serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression.
Add some Acupressure into the mix by applying firm pressure for 1-3 minutes to the following Acupressure point: Two finger widths below your palm in the middle of your wrist is an acupressure point that can help target and treat depression. Apply pressure there with your thumb or forefinger. Repeat on the other wrist.
SAD Signs & Symptoms
Depressed mood for of the day, occurring nearly every day.
Loss of interests.
Withdrawing from friends and family
Changes in appetite; typically eating more and craving carbs
Sleeping for longer than normal periods
Struggling to focus and perform
Feeling hopeless or worthless
Having suicidal thoughts
You should consider seeing your GP if you think you might be experiencing SAD and are struggling to cope.
Get the Help your Body is Craving! Whether it’s the winter blues or SAD, the following treatments can help your mental state significantly!
Sunlight: Try your best to get outside when the sun is shining during these darker days. This can be as simple as taking a walk during your lunch break, getting off the tube a stop or two earlier than normal, playing with the kids outside, or taking the dog for a walk. Exposing yourself to natural light helps boost your serotonin, and can help boost your mood.
Exercise: It can’t be avoided!! Research consistently shows that exercising has a strong mental health connection, particularly for those who have depression and anxiety.
Moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week may provide the biggest mood boost for you.
Try to start your day with an exercise routine to get you off on the right start! Light Therapy: Light Therapy replicates natural light using light boxes with white fluorescent bulbs to mimic sunlight. When undergoing light therapy, you will be prescribed a set amount of time looking at the light box. This type of therapy is especially helpful in regulating the release of melatonin. Counselling/Talk Therapy and/or Medication: Counselling is a great option for all types of depression, SAD included. From these sessions, you can gather a lot of insight as well as recommended treatments from your doctor.
Manage your Mood
Set a routine for your body to get in sync with by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day
Structure your eating patterns to eat three meals a day around the same time every day
Manage your diet. You might feel the urge to overindulge in carb-loaded or sweet foods, resist!
Take time for yourself to partake in activities you enjoy
Make plans with your friends and family. Do your best to keep those plans!
As always, be kind to your body and listen to the signs it gives you. Never be afraid to seek help when
"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” -Mother Teresa
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