Tuesday, 14 October 2014

LET'S TALK: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

 
It will come as no surprise at all that SAD is something that is bound to occur in a lot of people at this time of year. I know sometimes people jump on the bandwagon with things like SAD and assume that's why they're always so tired or miserable...but this time of year, the daylight hours aren't as long, it gets colder...it's not great.

October is MISERABLE. And despite the fact I love Autumn (I even talked about it here), I struggle with the dark mornings (...days and evenings), the cold and this time of year generally just feels a bit boring, don't you agree?

The rubbish thing is, December through to February are the colder, worse months but there's something about the transition from September to October that just sucks.

As I'm told, SAD is more likely to occur for young 18-30 year olds, most commonly women. GREAT. So for somebody like me, well, the next few months aren't always a walk in the park. Especially after 9+ months of summertime whilst travelling.

BUT, onwards and upwards...there are things that can help (and no, unfortunately not all of us can relocate to a warmer climate to avoid the typically terrible British weather - let's face it, we would be away for the majority of the year if that was the solution!)

1. EXERCISE - yes, this appears to be my go-to 'you have to do this to help yourself' answer, but it's true. Exercise gets all those good little hormones jiggling around inside you and lifts your mood.

2. DAYLIGHT - well, we know this isn't always an option BUT when it's even a little lighter, get outside and make the most of it. Failing that, open your curtains/blinds and let it in!

3. SOCIALISE - get out there, see your friends, your family - I tend to just hibernate this time of year but it does do you some good to get out there and mix with people.

4. VITAMIN D - 'Experts' believe this helps so, of course, I listen and take vitamin D tablets. Obviously there are other types of medication (see your doctor if you're really suffering!) but it's better to try the less serious options, like vitamins, first.

5. PLENTY OF SLEEP, HEALTHY DIET - Obvious things but listen to what your body needs (and I'm not talking a Saturday night takeaway or chocolate cravings) - I am slightly lactose intolerant. It makes me feel sick, it makes me get bad headaches etc. so I know not to have it as much as possible. The same with bread - it makes me feel sluggish and grumpy. You will know when your body doesn't like something, be aware of it. And with the sleep - as a child, we don't like going to bed and as an adult, we don't want to get out of bed! Aim for at least 7 hours a night BUT don't oversleep.

6. YOGA - I am a big yoga fan, and although I haven't be practicing as much as I would like lately, it is something I will definitely be doing more of throughout the colder months. It's calming, it energises and the known health benefits make it a good mood booster.


There are many other theories about what helps - light therapy, counselling, light boxes (apparently they are good, but I've never really looked into it!) but the biggest tip I can give - if you are feeling miserable/hopeless...just, out of sorts - speak to somebody. SAD is a thing so doctors will be able to give you advice, friends and family will support you but you also have to help and support yourself.

COMMON SAD SYMPTOMS;
Oversleeping
Overeating
Loneliness/helplessness
Withdrawal from social situations
Decreased sex drive
Difficulty concentrating
Decreased energy/tiredness.

I mean, let's face it - the colder months make you want to wrap up as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a- rug, don't they, but you know when it's a little bit more than the lazy 'all I want is my bed' kinda day.

xo


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