Okay, S.A.D – Seasonal affective disorder. First of all, please let me disclaim that I am in no way a medical professional, and this is understanding what S.A.D is, not a diagnosis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.
We may have heard of S.A.D before or heard it in conversation but not actually know the ins and outs. It’s likely, that you know its relative to seasonal change and your understanding of it was quite slim like mine, that you just feel ‘low’ or ‘different’ during certain months of the year. Whilst doing my research for this article, I found that actually, there was many layers of S.A.D and it is more complex than you think.
So, what is it? The NHS describe S.A.D as “A type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. S.A.D is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’. This can affect us in a variety of different ways. Obviously, the main one being a persistent low mood. This may include losing interest or joy in your everyday life or activities. This may then spiral onto feeling irritable or feelings of worthlessness and guilt. The most important thing to try and acknowledge here is that you are so worthy. Seasonal changes may affect your mood, but you are filled with an abundance of love, all year round. These feelings may lead you feeling tearful, anxious and develop low self-esteem. You may have noticed that your appetite has changed, or your sleeping pattern isn’t as good as it was. I am guilty of letting my sleeping pattern infect my working habits. I am nothing without sleep. I do also admit that I am ‘mildly’ affected by S.A.D, I do feel generally that waking up to sunshine and knowing it’s light when I leave work plays a difference in my overall mood and irritability. The constant crave for light can be exhausting, if this is the case for you, look at investing in a light therapy lamp, or even the Himalayan Salt Lamps!
The symptoms of S.A.D can last up to 5 months of the year, which let’s face it, is a huge amount of your life. Experts say there is no real “cause” of S.A.D, a severe lack of sunlight and dark days could be linked to a chemical in the brain, but that is the only evidence they have to go off as we speak.
*If you feel your depression is severe or if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, consult a doctor immediately*.
What you can do to fight S.A.D:
- Start writing!! Research has shown that keeping a journal can help promote positivity in the brain, thus in turn, saying bye bye to negativity from your system. Win!
- Get yourself moving- Get to the gym, a walk, a home work out, yoga. Whatever your poison, start doing it. Because after all, endorphins make you happy – in true Elle Woods style.
- Socialise as much as possible. Say yes to everything. Go out, have fun and spend time with people that love and value you.
- Fuel your body with healthy foods. Keeping your body full of the nutrients it needs is a great place to start. Grant permission to give yourself a healthy body and mind.
By Hollie Warwick