What Is SAD And Tips To Reduce Its Effect
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or to put it simply SAD, is a form of depression that occurs as a result of the different seasons. More often than not, we associate it with the winter months, however SAD can also occur in the sunnier seasons too. Especially with everything going on with the world right now too- it puts great strain on our mood and mental health.
The cause of SAD is still not actually fully understood, however most believe it is due to the lack of sunlight in the winter months. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight stops the hypothalamus (part of the brain) from working.
As a result of this, you may experience lower levels of serotonin, a hormone that affects your sleep, mood and hunger levels. As well as this, your body’s internal clock can become disrupted with the shorter days in autumn and winter and interfere with your routine.
How do I know if I have it?
But how do you know if you are suffering with SAD? It is a disorder that very much goes undiagnosed. Many of us will be suffering from a low mood and showing symptoms, but not necessarily think that we have it. Here are some of the most prominent symptoms of SAD:
-Feelings of tiredness and excessive fatigue
-Sleeping longer than usual
-A lack of interest in daily activities
If you are feeling symptoms such as these, and believe they might be caused by SAD. It is important that you speak to your GP so they can discuss the best option with you. As well as this, there are some steps you can take on your own to reduce its effects too...
How to reduce the effects of SAD
Get outside - If you suffer from SAD in the winter months, you need to make sure you get enough sunlight as possible and fresh air.. Even if there is a chill in the air, wrap up and soak up the sunshine when you can. If you aren’t able to get out, keep the curtains open and allow as much light into your inside space as possible.
Light box therapy - This is a light box that mimics the sun and can be useful for those suffering with SAD. You typically sit in-front of the light box for 30 minutes a day, usually in the morning to regulate your body’s internal clock.
Organise social events - In the winter when it’s cold and dark, it can be more than tempting to stay wrapped up at home. However, social interactions with friends and family makes us feel good. So plan social events with loved ones, as it will boost your mood and force you to interact than making symptoms worse.
SAD is a disorder and has a huge impact on people’s lives, therefore it is essential that we listen to those that struggle and offer help where we can. If you believe you suffer with the disorder, make sure to get in touch with your GP and try out some of the steps above to improve your mood and mind.