It can affect people in a variety of ways and key symptoms can range from depression, sleep problems, lethargy, overeating, irritability, and feeling down and unsociable.
Everyone reacts differently and what works for one person may not work for another so have a try at some of the self help tips below:
- research has shown that a one hour walk in the middle of the day could be as effective as a light treatment. Other ideas to keep active might be joining a yoga or pilates class, running with a friend or simply finding your favourite work out on YouTube.
- take some fresh air and natural daylight, especially on sunny days, and when you are inside, sit near the window when you can.
- it has been shown that keeping warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Eat warming foods (my favourite at the moment is curried butternut squash soup) and have warm drinks to keep your core body temperature up.
- a healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over the winter. Balance your craving for carbs with lots of fruit and vegetables.
See the Light
- some people find light therapy effective. I know two of my clients who swear by using their light boxes every day. One lady takes her morning cuppa back to bed and catches up with a good book while she sits in front of her light.
Treat yourself or someone you care about
- book yourself a hair cut, a massage or a reflexology session or just simply buy yourself a new hand cream for a treat. Why not treat a friend with a bunch of flowers, it will make you both feel good.
- keep a diary and note down three things daily that you are grateful for. It may be something simple like the sunshine or a beautiful flower or perhaps your health or family. It might even be a premium bond win (no harm in wishing!)
Take up a new hobby
- keeping your mind active seems to ward off winter blues. It may be as easy as setting up a knitting or card game group with friends or perhaps learning a new skill, dancing or taking a short OU course. The important thing is to have something to concentrate on and look forward to.
Keep up with friends and family
- it has been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off symptoms of SAD. Accept any invitations to social events even if you just stay for a short while.
- talking therapies like counselling, hypnotherapy and CBT can all help you cope with the symptoms of SAD (I can provide local therapist recommendations if needed). You could join a support group, see SADA www.sada.org.uk for more details, and if you are still battling please do speak with your GP.