SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can affect people of any age, race and gender with symptoms ranging from mild unhappiness to severe depression. However, you don’t have to have SAD to be effected by the long nights and the grey gloomy days.
Sometimes winter can just get you down and these top tips could help you to beat those winter blues and keep happy and healthy. Remember what works for one person might not work for another, but there is always something out there that will help you. So keep positive and keep trying, you never know what will work for you!
- It’s tempting to just stay inside and watch TV when it’s cold and grey outside, but research has shown that daily excercise can help improve your mood. A simple one hour daily walk can be as helpful as light box treatments for many.
- Try to spend as much time as possible in natural daylight. You can not only do this by spending as much time as possible outside, but also by keeping curtains and blinds open letting natural light into your office and house.
- Being cold can make you feel down, it’s even been shown that keeping yourself nice and toasty can reduce winter blues by half! Keep warm with hot food and drink, wear warm clothes (like a big winter jumper!) and keep your home between 18C and 21C. For more information on keeping warm and well, view the NHS Choices Keep warm, Keep Well page.
- We’re all tempted by carbohydrates and fatty foods during winter and these can provide a temperary mood boost. However, for a more sustained and healthier winter period try to eat more whole grains and fruit and vegetables. An easy way to get more veg into your diet is to make a hearty vegetable soup!
- Light box therapy has been effective in 85% of diagnosed cases of SAD. These light boxes provide light that is at least 10 times stronger than ordinary home and office lighting. These are not available on the NHS and cost around £100, for more information and offers of light boxes visit the SADA (The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association) website.
- Since SAD is caused by a lack of light Vitamin D (the vitamin your body makes when your skin is exposed to sunlight) taking Vitamin D supliments can help to boost your mood. However, you can also find vitamin D in oily fish, eggs and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and powdered milk.
Find Seasonal Joy!
- Winter might be cold and a gloomy but there are plenty of seasonal activities you can throw yourself into to help boost your mood. Prehaps you can start crafting home made christmas decorations or take part in some local charity work. Even something as simple as having a pine sented candle in the house can help to lift your mood and fill you with seasonal joy!
- Socialising is important, although you might feel like hiding from the world when you’re feeling down keeping busy by seeing and meeting new people can help to improve your mood. You can join a new club or volunteer for charity work, prehaps start a new hobby to keep yourself busy and out of the house. If you’re really not feeling up to that then just having friends and family round can provide a much needed mood boost!
Talk to your GP!
- If you’re feeling so down that you’re unable to function normally within your everyday life, then please don’t suffer in silence; contact your GP.
For more information on SAD view the SADA (The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association) website.