“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
–Anton Chekhov 1860-1904
Winter blues is an all too common affliction for those of us living north of the equator. Of course it’s perfectly normal to have some days when you feel down, but if you feel down for days at a time, can’t get motivated to do the things you normally enjoy, if your sleep pattern and appetite have changed, you find yourself turning to alcohol or medication for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless then you should seek help and advice.
SAD is very different from manic depression and bipolar as it’s characterised by feelings of sadness and depression that occur in the winter months when temperatures drop and days are shorter.
Although women are twice as likely to suffer from the winter blues than men, SAD is by no means sexist! According to recent studies on depression and the sexes, it was suggested that women tend to be more tuned into their emotions and better able to describe them when depressed while men might not recognise their symptoms as depression, perhaps denying or hiding their unhappiness, so the illness might get overlooked in men until it becomes more severe. (Jill Goldstein Ph.D Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Harvard Medical School)
People suffering from SAD may be unable to function or function minimally during the season in which their disorder occurs. SAD sufferers crave additional sleep, experience anxiety and lethargy and may gain weight, often craving sugary sweets and snacks.
Here are a few things you can do to help deal with SAD
Light therapy is said to be effective for SAD. Light boxes give out light 10 times stronger than normal indoor lighting. There is potential for a few side effects with light boxes so seeking medical advice before investing is probably a good idea.
Research shows that a daily 1-hour walk outdoors can be as effective as light treatment for coping with winter blues. The body releases endorphins, making you feel good while reducing stress and depression.
If you suffer with the winter blues, feeling cold can aggravate it. Best advice is to dress warm, eat warm and drink comforting warm drinks.
Eat warm hearty meals that will sustain you. Balance carbohydrates with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Vitamin D can help too.
Keep in touch
Make an effort to keep in touch with people that make you feel good and can support you.
Set goals, join a social group or start a new hobby
Keep your mind active – something to look forward to and set yourself a challenge.
Join a support group
Consider joining SADA http://www.sada.org.uk/
Holistic therapies such as hypnotherapy are a safe and natural approach to dealing with symptoms of SAD and the positive benefits can be seen in all areas of your life.
For more information on how hypnotherapy can help you – get in touch today
Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
10 Harley Street, London W1G 9PF Tel: 020 7873 2051
The Chilston Clinic, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN4 8RA Tel: 01892 513535