Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter months.
The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter and the nights draw in faster and we get up for work and school and its still dark. Just this can make some of us feel fed up and miserable but others feel depressed. A SAD sufferer’s symptoms will be most severe during December, January and February but can start in November lasting till March.
SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, but may return each year as we approach autumn and winter. It forms a repetitive pattern.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
- low self-esteem
- feeling stressed or anxious
- a reduced sex drive
- becoming less sociable
- Life is an effort. You would rather sit and do nothing or not even get up in the morning.
There are a number of simple things you can try that may help improve your symptoms, including:
Getting outside on a daily basis in nature will help especially, if it is a nice bright sunny day as natural sunlight will help to boost your mood and lift your depression. Even it is just a brief walk in your lunch break this will make all the difference.
Sit near windows when you’re indoors so that the natural light is coming in where you are sitting again boosting your serotonin levels improving your mood.
On dull dark days have a light box to hand which will give you the feeling of natural light.
Take plenty of regular exercise, again preferably outdoors and in daylight. Exercise naturally raises your hormone levels to produce more serotonin, which will help treat your depression naturally.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet so make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The brighter the colours the better.
If possible, avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress. This is not an easy one but exercising regularly will help this also.
Ask for help if you going through a stressful time in your life and need an extra pair of hands. This could be for day to day life or preparing for Christmas. Just talking to someone will help you feel better a problem shared is a problem halved as they say. Sometimes just a listening ear makes you feel better and able to cope.
Attend a meditation class or yoga class to bring stillness and balance into your life. You will also meet new friends to add to your support network
Burning the essential oil Frankincense and myrrh will help lift your mood and ease your depression. Incense sticks are also available. I find my patients always comment on how lovely my cabin smells when I burn these. Its because it lifts their mood but they also feel comforted and relaxed whilst they are there due not only to the therapy they are experiencing but the oils I am burning.
Make sure you go out don’t become a house hermit, as this is the worse thing you can do. So if possible force yourself to go out even if it is for that short walk round the block you will feel better.
Talk to family and friends about your SAD, so that they understand how your mood changes and are able to support you during the winter months.
Contact a homeopath who will take a complete picture of your mental, emotion and physical well being and prescribe homeopath remedies and flower essences to help support you during the winter months. They also generally offer 45-60 minute session which gives you time to discuss your SAD symptoms and how you are feeling something a doctor does not have time to offer you.
Book in for some regular reflexology and healing sessions to help you cope on a daily basis by balancing your chakra energy system and just creating you some restorative relaxation time and a listening ear can make all the difference.
Carry the crystal orange calcite in your pocket. This is a fantastic crystal to have in your pocket for SAD and depression. Mine is in my pocket every year and I tend to have a stock of them in my cabin to give to SAD sufferers as a gift when they visit me.
The herbal supplement St John’s Wort is a natural alternative to anti-depressants which your doctor will prescribe you but do seek the advice of a herbalist or health food shop practitioner before taking. Avoid if you are pregnant. (Homeopathy can be taken safely when you are pregnant)
Obviously, I am not a fan of anti-depressants and personally would try everything else before I took them, but I feel I need to share the following information with you so that you can make the right choice for you.
Selective serotonin reuptake inbibitors (SSRIs) are the preferred type of antidepressant for treating SAD prescribed by a doctor.
They increase the level of the hormone serotonin in your brain, which can help lift your mood.
If you’re prescribed antidepressants, you should be aware that:
- it can take up to four to six weeks for the medication to take full effect
- you should take the medication as prescribed and continue taking it until advised to gradually stop by your doctor. (Please not that homeopathy can be prescribed along side anti-depressants whilst you are coming off your medication with your doctor).
- some antidepressants have side effects and may interact with other types of medication you’re taking
- Common side effects of SSRIs include feeling agitated, shaky or anxious, an upset stomach and diarrhoea or constipation. Check the information leaflet that comes with your medication for a full list of possible side effects.
If you are interested in trying Homeopathy, reflexology or Reiki/Metatronic Healing for your SAD instead of anti-depressants this autumn/winter please don’t hesitate to contact me on 07968 292785 or email@example.com for more information or to book an appointment.