Waking up in the dark and heading home in the dark after a long day at the office is enough to make anyone feel a little low.
Season Affective Disorder – in short, S.A.D – is a repetitive issue that causes ‘winter depression’ in the months from November onwards. It is seen as a seasonal mood change that is effected by the cold weathers, whilst symptoms seem to disappear or lessen in the Spring and Summer.
Anyone with the illness will notice a distinct difference in their mood and mindset in the colder months, and this is a repetitive trait year to year.
In fact, most of us will feel the effects of SAD at times, and will wrap up warm with hot chocolate and let it past. In winter, our immune systems probably aren’t on their top form, and illness is much more likely, which in turn makes us feel lower than usual.
We might feel chronic boredom too, where friends don’t want to hangout or leave the house because of the cold weather, which can leave us feeling lonely and low.
The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. And that your wintery symptoms are hugely common.
Luckily, there’s a few short term things you can do to lift your spirits or occupy yourself till it all passes over.
Wrap Up Happy
Hey, if your friends don’t wanna hang out that’s more snacks for you. And considering weight gain over winter is practically beneficial to keep warm, stocking up on chocolates is hardly a crime… just remember to stay fit and active when the sun comes home for Spring!
Netflix on, overthinking off. After the Christmas season and focusing on ‘them time’ you’ve seriously earned some ‘you time’. This is prime time to catch up on Hannah Montana re-runs or get your monthly dose of Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls.
If you do have to leave the house, grab a few – or a million – layers.
Take a Walk / Light Exercise
Okay so I’m a big advocate of the eating chocolate till you’re so full that your stomach literally melts right off in summer, but science suggests exercise helps. Whatever.
A little light exercise like a walk through the park can get you feeling much better. In fact, being outside in natural light as much as possible is your best bet for fighting SAD symptoms. Less natural light leads to seretonin levels decreasing – and what good has ever come from that?
Invest in a Lightbox
A lightbox for SAD sufferers can be extremely helpful. Whether you choose to go for professional light therapy, or invest in your own light, the product provides an even ly spread source of therapeutic light for the user. The idea is to stimulate the mind the way natural light would.
There’s also a number of light boxes that incorporate an alarm clock, so that the light will gradually brighten nearer to the time your alarm is set; this way, you’re naturally woken up by light rather than the horrific noise of your phone’s 3 choices of alarm tone.
With these bits and bobs to consider, you’ll find it a whole lot easier to cope in the upcoming months before the daffodils bloom, and all is right with the world again.
If you’re unsure what’s going on in any way, you can read a little more information below:
The symptoms are similar to those of us who suffer from Depression at other times of year. You’ll experience a persistent low mood with no real cause. There’ll be times when you sleep a lot more than usual, feel a little overwhelmed and stop enjoying the things you’ve always loved.
It’s these symptoms that cause more concern than simply a low mood one day in the winter.
If you’re struggling to cope and continue your everyday responsibilities, it’s always best to get checked over by your GP.
There’s a few things that might help you to differentiate between a bad mood, and SAD before you seek professional help:
If you feel like you’ve felt this kind of mood before, perhaps consider when this was, and what happened to make you feel better. If you find that it seems to have a pattern, this could potentially prove that looking into SAD is the next step.
What’s the issue?
If you’re feeling crappy and there’s a number of reasons why, consider if your reactions are rational: There’s some things in life that just naturally make us feel crappy. But if you think your emotional reaction to the situation has been entirely different to usual, you may want to look into why this might be.
If you can’t find a specific reason for your persistent bad mood, again, visit the GP.
SAD isn’t the be all and end all, and it certainly doesn’t last forever. You’ll be as good as new in no time, but until then, pop the kettle on…