During the winter months we can experience the ‘winter blues’ and have a yearning to hibernate. Reduced number of daylight hours during these cold dark months can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which affects our levels of hormones (melatonin and serotonin). It is known as the winter depression and can affect our mood, concentration, sleep, appetite and also lack in energy.
If you are travelling to/from work in the dark mornings/evenings, and don’t get outside during the course of the day, you have a reduced exposure to daylight during your working week which has an impact on your wellbeing.
So, don’t wait for winter to pass you by to start feeling better. The first step is to recognise that you are affected and then take some further steps with these top tips. Always consult your GP if you think you have SAD syndrome or are struggling to cope.
* Get out into daylight everyday for at least 20 minutes to top up your vitamin D levels. This could be as simple as an extended walk to the sandwich shop at lunchtime.
* Light therapy (for 30-60 minutes everyday) using a light box, which is used to simulate exposure to sunlight. This is a leading treatment for SAD syndrome.
* A dawn-simulating alarm clock is a waking device that helps you wake naturally in the mornings.
* CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a talking therapy to help you manage problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is a practice used for improving mental health.
* A regular exercise routine to raise the heart rate is an effective way to relieve symptoms.
* Eat 3 balanced meals every day to avoid cravings for carbohydrates and sweets foods which can lead to weight gain.
* Stay connected with family & friends and make the effort to get out and socialise every week.