Tis the season; the dark mornings, the wet leaves on the ground, my cat doesn’t want to go out, my kid is battling with me to wear a winter coat, and last weekend I turned all my clocks back. Yes, it is indeed the season! Ugh.
I’m one of those people who feel 150% better with some glorious sunshine on my cheeks. I’ve never been one to see the romance in short dark days, bundling up in winter woollies and sitting by a fire. I’m the person who is huffing and puffing by the flames, tugging at my restrictive itchy sweater and pulling faces as I look out of the window at a picturesque autumnal scene. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural fit to be a character in a Charles Dickens novel!
The seasonal changes can affect my entire sense of well-being. On reflection, it’s something that has affected me since I was a kid. If you can relate to these scenarios and feel like a completely different person depending on the season, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that creeps up at a particular time of the year. Commonly it begins in the fall, when the days get shorter, and lasts throughout winter.
5 Quick Tips and Tricks To Ease Your SAD Symptoms
1. Get outside during the day — consider making a habit of taking a daily walk in the fresh air. Any time spent outdoors, particularly in nature, never fails to lift the soul. This helped me to survive my last winter!
2. Set up some physical activity into your lifestyle, preferably before those pesky SAD symptoms take hold. Physical activity is proven to relieve stress, build up energy levels and increase both your physical and mental well-being and resilience. Start small and build it into a healthy lifestyle habit.
3. Move your chair or desk and arrange the space you spend time in to maximize your exposure to sunlight. Open up the curtains to daylight, try to face a window where possible, and cut back any foliage or branches that block your window from light.
4. Consider Taking Vitamin D Supplements — Most of us battle to get enough sunlight during the winter months, sometimes causing a deficiency in Vitamin D. The lower levels of vitamin D can leave you feeling down feeling sluggish with general fatigue, and muscle soreness.
5. Try to resist those troublesome carbohydrates and sweet cravings that come with SAD. Shhh, I’m writing this post, simultaneously noticing the tell-tale pile of wrappers from my kids Halloween stash on my desk. Yikes! Sometimes we have to take a look at our subconscious habits, as they can wave the flag for what we are experiencing. Ok, that’s the last Mars Bar, promise!
Who does it affect?
“About 2 to 3% of Canadians will experience SAD during their lifetime. Another 15% will experience a milder form of SAD that leaves them only slightly depressed, but still able to live their life without any major disruptions.” 1^ while “Up to 10% of the American population lives with SAD”. 2^
“People with SAD make up about 10% of all depression cases”, and interestingly, “it’s also thought to run in families: 13–17% of people who develop SAD have an immediate family member with the disorder. “ 1^