Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in late autumn and continue into the winter months usually ending at the beginning of spring.
You feel tired almost all the time, you can barely get out of bed in the morning. You lack motivation, inspiration and you become lazy. You don't feel like cooking healthy meals and you are usually less active. And some of the worse symptoms include a dark depression, feeling worthless, hopeless and guilty. If you are having these more severe symptoms, please see a doctor.
I've suffered from SAD my whole life, I always say that I was born in the wrong country because the cold, wet and dark days make me so so sad. Sometimes mine continues into April if the weather doesn't pick up.
SAD is very common, and it has been proven that it affects 3 times more women then men, but they don't know why.
I want to shed some light on SAD (no pun intended!) and share some things I have found over the years that help me.
Light the fire, put on cosy clothes, warm socks, grab a blanket and a cup of tea. Read a book or watch a movie.
Take a hot bath, put in a few drops of lavender oil to help you relax. I also like to add rose quartz, rose water and rose petals to my bath. Oh and maybe a Lush bath bomb.
Keep a journal, write your feelings and emotions down. It's better than keeping them locked inside. Do this at night so you can reflect on what happened throughout the day.
If you have a salt lamp, use it. Salt lamps make rooms feel super cosy and relaxing, they also neutralize negative Ions that come from computers and other electronic devices. I'm going to be bringing mine into my office this winter.
Long Term Fixes:
Try your best to stick to your regular schedule, don't press snooze too many times and then end up late for work. The added stress will make your SAD worse.
When it is bright , find some time to get outside and go for a walk. You're best off doing this in nature and not through a busy city. If you can, try get outside as the sun is rising, or still low in the sky.
Get moving. Go running, practice yoga, outdoor activities are best but sometimes it's too cold. So yoga in a cosy yoga studio is so lovely.
Buy a dawn simulator, this is an alarm clock that wakes you up by producing light that gradually increases in intensity, just like the sun.
Buy a light therapy box, I personally don't have one but I know a few people that have them and they swear by them. The light from the therapy boxes is significantly brighter than that of regular light bulbs, and it's provided in different wavelengths.
Take a Vitamin D supplement. During autumn and winter (from October until the end of March) the sun isn't strong enough in Ireland to produce vitamin D. Because it's difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, many of us risk not getting enough. Taking a supplement helps to keep levels of the vitamin topped up during the colder months.
Eat healthy, during the winter months we can get very lazy with cooking healthy meals. Maybe make your dinners at the weekend and freeze them. This way, when you are feeling too lazy to cook, and you're about to look for that takeaway menu, you already have your dinner made and in the freezer and all you need to do is defrost it.
Don't brush off SAD as simply being "winter blues", because it is much more than that.
I hope this blog post helps you, let me know if you have any further recommendations.