Seasonal Affective Disorder
As we anticipate coming into the Autumn and Winter months, many people find that, if prone to feeling down, their symptoms of depression worsen.
For others, there is an annual seasonal pattern to their depression and this is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD presents itself by episodes of depression that recur at the same times of the year. The two main symptoms of SAD are low mood and a lack of interest in everyday things.
The following tips can help to improve the symptoms of SAD.
1.Light therapy- there are many full spectrum light bulbs or light boxes available online to help the symptoms of SAD e.g. I like the Lumie alarm clock. Equally, get outside for the bright hours of the day as much as you can to increase your levels of serotonin.
2. Psychotherapy: SAD may be triggered by unresolved issues from the past that come up during the darker months and psychotherapy can help to provide coping mechanisms and a space to talk about how you are feeling.
3. Vitamin D -Adequate vitamin D levels are critical for our mood. I recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked and then supplementing based on your results. I would also recommend taking a good probiotic such as Biokult to boost immunity and help your body create the happy hormones -most of which are produced in your gut.
4. Get out and meet people in the evening time as much as you can . Many of us resort to watching TV every evening and the winter months can seem long.
Talk to friends and family. If depression recurs for you, there may be an issue you need to address so that you no longer carry the negative emotions from the past. Talk to friends when you feel you can. If you feel you need further help, speak to your G.P or a counsellor.
5. Go to sleep early and address issues with insomnia. The link between insomnia and depression is well established. Try to ensure that you get at least 8 hours quality sleep per night by reducing exposure to screens for a few hours before bed. Wind down by reading, doing another relaxing activity & using natural supports such as applying lavender oil to your skin. Avoid caffeine (i.e tea, coffee, chocolate) from 3pm in the day. Your local health food shop will also have several supplements that can help with insomnia. Doing an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) practice at night-time can also help with more stubborn insomnia.