As the winter months start to roll in and the days become shorter, it is not uncommon for a lot of us to start to feel flat and fatigued. For some, the extremities of the winter weather can be debilitating, severely impacting mood, energy levels and even making you feel unwell for large parts of the year. This is a condition called Season Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as winter depression as the symptoms tend to arise in the colder winter months when daylight starts to deplete. In fact, the NHS report that this condition will affect 1 in 15 people from the months of September to April.
Some of the common symptoms of SAD are:
✳️Lack of energy or fatigue
✳️Finding it hard to concentrate
✳️Trouble sleeping or struggling to get up in the morning.
✳️Feeling unsociable or not enjoying things you usually do.
✳️Increase or decrease appetite
There are some very helpful tools that you can try yourself to help improve your symptoms: Spend as much time as you can in natural sunlight. For example, go on walks, spend time in the garden or local park and when you are at home try sitting by a well-lit window.
💪Physical Activity- Exercise can be an incredibly effective treatment for depression and fatigue. It is best to find out what type of exercise works for you, but this could be as simple as going for a brisk walk in the countryside or doing some gardening.
💡Light Therapy –Some people with SAD find that light therapy can improve their mood considerably. This involves sitting by a special lamp called a light box, usually for around 30 minutes to an hour each morning.
🍎Eat a balanced Diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and also foods that are slow energy releasers such as pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds. Some research also suggests that taking a Vitamin D supplement in the winter months can be effective. This is because Vitamin D plays a role in maintaining positive moods.
💙Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), where you talk to a trained therapist to help change the way you think and feel about situations.