By Selma Van Diest, 12th June 2017.
Winter has arrived!
During these colder months, some people are more sensitive than others to the change in temperature and light and can suffer from a negative mood, or in more severe cases, clinical depression.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder is the official name for winter depression. Seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed by a recurring pattern of symptoms starting during winter and resolving during spring and summer. Symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness, disinterest, irritableness, weight gain, problems concentrating (feeling foggy) and a tendency to withdraw from activities and social interactions. Individuals who suffer from depression may feel a rise in symptoms during winter.
During winter we are exposed to less sunlight. Sunlight contains Vitamin D, which helps to maintain healthy levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter directly linked to mood. Many people think seasonal affective disorder is related to the lower temperatures during winter, but that is just a secondary cause: when it’s cold, we are less keen to go outside and our exposure to direct sunlight decreases.
What can you do?
Get some rays!
Make the most of sunny winter days and get outside and get some sunlight, and if possible get outside in the morning. Moving in the morning helps to wake you up, set your biological clock to ‘active’ and will help you to feel more energised for the day ahead.
Exercise is proven to help overcome depression, including seasonal affective disorder. Ideally exercise outdoors but any form of exercise, indoors or out, is a good thing! The most important thing is to do something you like! If you like it, you’re much more likely to actually do it!
Have a winter hobby
Choose a hobby that is suited to dark, wet winter days and cold winter nights. Read a series of books or write a book! Cook, experiment with new recipes or join a cooking class. Or perhaps art is more your thing, try colouring in books, painting or drawing. Whatever you choose, the key is having something to look forward to.
Be aware of when negativity might be creeping into your mindset and dare yourself to be positive. Step back, take an objective view of situations and create a balanced outlook. This can be difficult at times, so don’t give up.
If you require more specific strategies to meet your personal circumstances, or if you would like to have a chat with a psychologist, free from judgement, about anything at all, please contact Sprout Health Studio on 08 8443 4343 to book a consult.
Now go outside, lift your nose to the sun and allow the warmth to put a smile on your face!