Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD can be debilitating for many people at this time of year. In the UK alone there is said to be 2 million people suffering with SAD and that is the known cases of which there are likely to be many more undiagnosed cases. It wasn't until the 1980's that Seasonal Affective Disorder was recognised as a subgroup of depression mainly brought about due to lack of sunlight. The lack of sunlight results in a reduction in serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that affects our mood, appetite and sleep. This reduction in serotonin (our happy hormone) and the impact of lack of sunlight on our Circadian rhythm which tells us when to wake up can lead to feeling overwhelmingly tired and very low in mood. I grew up in a household where SAD was a winter constant. Every autumn just before the clocks changed it would start. "We all feel so down in the winter, oh no the clocks about to change, I can feel the low mood coming on", " We all suffer from SAD in our family". I believe that the lack of sunlight does impact us, and the lack of serotonin has a very real physical impact, but I also feel that the words we are told as we grow up can also have a big impact on how we physically feel. This year I have chosen to use positive words to try and reduce the impact that the winter months tend to have on me personally. I would recommend to anyone suffering from SAD to try using positive affirmations, hypnotic recordings and a gratitude journal to try to ease the symptoms. This alongside light therapy can be a huge relief. There are some lights that can be used to give you that daylight hit that your body is missing. Try creating a morning routine around raising your mood for the day. Get out in the daylight in the middle of the day. I know that this can be hard when you are working and busy but any time in the middle of the day that you can spend outside is like recharging your battery.
Try to also limit your time with blue light from phones, tablets and laptops. Buy some glasses that cancel out that fake light as this can stimulate the brain to stay awake and the more sleep that you get the less of an impact the SAD will have on you. Try not looking at electricals for at least one and half hours before bedtime. Tell yourself I will enjoy this winter and list the things that you enjoy about winter. This can be hard, and I was firmly in the "I hate winter" gang for a long time until recently when I realised that I was writing this same story every year and it was time for a change. I have now decided to celebrate the things I love about this season. I love our electric heated throws (we are using instead of putting the heating on this year much cheaper than heating due to the current climate). I also love buying a new winter coat and boots. I love the colour mulberry a very winter colour and looks great with a matching nail and lip. Sounds like I am grasping at straws but it's the little things that can bring us joy. Try to tell yourself that this year will be your best winter ever. Get out in the sunlight as much as you can, buy a daylight lamp and write down all the great things that you plan to do this winter. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. Wishing you a great winter season. Rewrite your winter story this year and have a great one! Sending love and light Lisa