Christmas is almost here and despite it being the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ for many, with winter comes Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that tends to be experienced repetitively during particular seasons or times of year.
Unlike other types of depression which are categorised as persistent low mood for a long period of time, SAD is most commonly experienced in winter.
This could be due to the cold, miserable weather, lack of sunlight and vitamin D, increase of melatonin or disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm.
According to Mind, ‘SAD is thought to be more common in countries where there are greater changes in the weather and daylight hours during different seasons, including England and Wales.’
Signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in the autumn and winter include:
- Feeling sluggish and fatigued.
- Feeling low or depressed consistently throughout the season.
- Over-eating/weight gain.
- Under-eating/weight loss – though this is more commonly experienced with spring and summer SAD.
- Feeling hopeless or worthless.
- Losing interest in things you enjoy.
- Lack of motivation.
- Feeling suicidal.
Psychological Well-Being Practitioner, Heather Dukes, gave Merseynewslive her top tips for coping with SAD this winter:
- Vitamin D supplements.
- Make use of your support network and open up to loved-ones.
- Keep up with hobbies.
- Pacing – doing activities or chores in smaller chunks so that they are less challenging, give you a sense of achievement and prevent withdrawing.
- Practice self-care.
- Seek help from professionals – talking therapy and CBT are great.
- Don’t be ashamed and don’t pressure yourself.
- Invest in a SAD lamp – these lamps replicate natural daylight and promote energy and wellness when used in the morning. Always check with a doctor first though!
- Try to make the most of natural sunlight through regular walks.
- Try to nourish yourself and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, there is help available:
- Papyrus – for people under 35.
Call 0800 068 41 41 – 9am to midnight every day.
Text 07860 039967
Email [email protected]
- SOS Silence of Suicide – for everyone.
Call 0300 1020 505 – 4pm to midnight every day.
Email [email protected]
- Childline – for children and young people under 19.
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill.