We have all heard the phrase “the winter blues”, and often we don’t take it that seriously. However, it SHOULD be taken seriously. Winter blues is a common name used for SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is a form of depression that people experience during a particular season, most commonly autumn and winter.
SAD affects over 2 million people in the UK and is a very real disorder and a very treatable one at that. Symptoms of SAD can look like:
Persistent low mood
Loss of pleasure and interest in everyday activities
Feelings of guilt
Feelings of worthlessness
Changes in sleep pattern
Loss of memory (brain fog)
Decreased sex drive
So, how exactly can we cope with these symptoms?
Get the goodness:
Eating right and healthily is key to keeping your mood and energy levels up during the winter months. Many of us suffering from SAD find that we eat more than usual, however it is also normal to lose your appetite when suffering from SAD. The winter months are perfect for healthy stews, and they can be fun to make too, so get your goodness in!
We all know how beneficial it is to get outside, even during the colder months but it can be harder during this season too. Autumn and winter create some of the most beautiful changes in nature, like the changes in colours of the leaves, so getting wrapped up and stepping out for a walk and embracing the beauty of the season can seriously benefit your mental health.
Don’t isolate yourself:
Summer is often a time of socialising and when the autumn season hits, often that reduces. However, it is important that you dont isolate yourself from people, even though it can be easy too. The colder months can be lonely, so surrounding yourself with good people who make you laugh and smile will help you get through the season ahead.
Let in the light:
Autumn and winter can often feel very dark due to the dark nights and dark mornings, so embracing the natural light when you can is essential. Open up your blinds as much as you can during the day, do your work by the window, or even buy yourself a light box. They mirror natural light and can increase vitamin D.
Take up a new hobby:
Whether it’s doing jigsaws, knitting, reading, hiking, or writing, whatever you enjoy, embrace it during these months. Let it be your healthy coping mechanism, give yourself a new sense of purpose when you feel like you’re losing one.
Like we said earlier, SAD is very real and very common, and there are people who can help. So, don’t be ashamed to reach out for help. Speak to your Doctor and/or take up therapy, whether its talking therapy, coaching, or hypnotherapy, or if medication works best, it is whatever works for you. Just don’t leave it too late, speak up.