Tips to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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NHS.com describes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as

"... a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.

A few people with SAD may have symptoms during the summer and feel better during the winter."

SAD or Seasonally Affective Disorder ….. When people can be feeling low, blue, depressed, sad, ………… due to the change in weather - lack of sunshine and warmth - and shorter days

So what can we do to lift our spirits during this time?

  1. Don’t deprive yourself, BUT! Don’t binge or be impulsive either!
    Quite often over indulgence is attributed to low mood, too much food, alcohol, over-spending, etc. all lead to either beating ourselves up, or continuing to over indulge in spending, drinking, eating, etc. to make ourselves feel better (short-term then downward spiral). So what can you do? Set a plan to address the issue that is bothering you. Address it in bite size chunks or quick wins. Ask yourself “What do I really want to do?” “What do I really want?” “Can I do this on my own?” “What do I need to do first to make this happen?” “What happens if I don’t take action?” What happens if I do take action?” “When will I start?”
  2. Consciously look up.
    We may not realise it but body language can help change our mood! Have you noticed that people tend to look down, slouch, or adopt a closed, protective body position when they are feeling low? Well, some therapists, without explanation, get people to spend the time between appointments counting chimneys. This not only provides a focus and objective, but completely changes their body language – Try it change your posture too – sit up straight when you sit down.
  3. Walk on bright crisp days.
    We know that SAD is attributed to lack of brightness and sunshine. Indeed light therapy is often used. What do we do in poor weather – first thought – snuggle up, keep the onesy on, watch a movie, eat….. etc. We then end up feeling stuffed up or getting “cabin fever” looking at the same four walls. On bright crisp days we can look out of the window and think “if this was July that sky could mean its 27 degrees!” Well tell yourself that, get wrapped up, and go for a bracing walk – blow the cobwebs away and get some winter sun on you!
  4. Make contact with people – often they are feeling the same.
    We all talk about SAD. We hear people at work, in the shops, in the school yard, friends, or relatives, saying they wish they either had something to look forward to or the weather was better, nights lighter, etc. Why not get together and turn SAD into FUN! Go on be the organiser!
  5. Don’t sit procrastinating – do or dump!
    You’ll only beat yourself up! Take ACTION! There’s no room for “I wish I could” “If only I” “I wish I was like….” If it’s important enough, or you really want it – DO IT! Set it as a goal, set targets and deadlines, get the support and information you need and ACT! ACTION can also be a conscious decision to DUMP! what you’ve been procrastinating over. Both approaches leave us with a sigh of relief – We have an action plan or the burden is lifted as we have looked at the implications and DUMPED it!
  6. Make achievable plans then break them down into small short-term goals that are achievable.
    So how many New Years resolutions have come and gone over the years? Largely because we haven’t thought about the true issue or consequences of the resolution, or it’s so big we are overwhelmed. Concentrate on a single goal, something that is really important to you, not an overwhelming list. Ask yourself “what is the single thing I want to act on first?” Not “Should“. Then do a plan, consider the support or information you need, look at the options open to you, and then decide on your approach. When you have the information you need and your plan written down, set your deadline. Remember there is no failure only learning and feedback! If things don’t go to plan, pick yourself up and get back on track.
  7. Take charge – take personal responsibility!
    If doing things to please others is dragging you down, or you feel it’s a new year and you should be doing X Y or Z, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. You are responsible for all you do. If you don’t hold yourself to account, then, only you pay the price.

If you need a kick-start why not contact us and see how our Personal Development Programmes could help.