For some, the changing of the clocks doesn’t just result in darker mornings and de-icing the car – SAD Beating Winter Blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can cause genuine depression-like symptoms.
What Is SAD?
We otherwise refer to SAD as ‘winter depression’ because symptoms like depression show themselves more often during the winter months. But these symptoms don’t just include feeling a bit tired or grumpy. So severe are the symptoms, they can heavily affect an individual’s day-to-day activities.
SAD Symptoms include:
- A relentlessly low mood
- Finding it hard to get up in the morning
- Feelings of guilt, despair, and worthlessness
- Gaining weight, often due to carbohydrate cravings
- A constant lack of energy and regularly sleeping through the day
But it’s not all doom and gloom; there are ways to battle this deceptively dangerous disease this winter.
- See Your GP
To receive an accurate and correct diagnosis, your doctor is the starting point in figuring out whether you are suffering from SAD or another kind of depression. If you are diagnosed with SAD, your GP can help you work through it and provide any necessary medication.
- Let There Be Light
Winter brings wonderful things, but also a lack of natural sunlight and a potentially severe impact on physical and mental well-being. Light therapy is an effective therapy to aid with the blackness of seasonal depression.
To get more light, sit in front of a simulated lightbox for up to two hours a day. Lightboxes work because they emit bright light with a potency 10 times that of ordinary lighting. A dawn simulator (an alarm clock that imitates sunrise) can also help you get up on dark mornings.
- Move to Feel Better
Regular exercise is an epic way to boost your mood and help with any depression-related weight gain. But to see the effects, be vigilant with your exercise routine and stick to outdoor exercises. If rain or snow stops you, indoor exercises on a treadmill, stationary bike, cross trainer, or an exercise video can still work up a sweat and make you feel better.
- Soak Up the Sun
As with exercise, getting outdoors regularly is vital to beating the harsh effects of SAD. So, whenever you can, get outside and let the natural sunlight bathe the depression away.
- Get Your Nutrients
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can help with many aspects of your life. Eat small-balanced meals evenly throughout the day to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs to minimise mood swings and keep that energy up. In addition, try to opt for slow-release foods like oatmeal, wholemeal bread, brown rice and bananas, which keep you fuller and more energetic for longer.
- The Importance of Vitamin D
The best way to receive Vitamin D is from the sun, but a Vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor for SAD due to increased winter darkness. Taking supplements can help relieve the symptoms of SAD, however.
If you found this story interesting, read this amazing article “How to Beat the Winter Blues at home“, which provides tips and advice on how to manage the cold weather and sad feelings by following simple steps.
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Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression