Ah, the joys of different seasons. We love the warm summer evenings, the spring flowers and the autumn colours. Unfortunately all pleasures have a price, and the short daylight hours of mid-winter certainly make us pay.
It can be a challenge to see any daylight during the working week in winter. While most of us just get a bit grumpy, for some it becomes a real issue. This is known as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ or SAD. Symptoms can include low mood, over-eating, loss of interest in normal activities and disturbed sleep.
Given that jumping on a plane to somewhere sunny isn’t always possible, here are three other approaches to beating SAD:
Getting that daylight is absolutely essential at this time of year. Find a way to get outside, even if only for a few minutes. Fit in some walking or running at the weekend to get you outdoors.
Don’t let the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) drag you down. Remind yourself that the images of endless parties and glamorous lifestyles are idealised fantasy. You are not measured by the number of party invites you have or how late you stayed out on New Year’s Eve.
Make it all go away. Have a break from social media, don’t watch the ads and take a breath. Look for the good things; the sunrise that you can see without getting up at 5 a.m., the crisp winter air, the warmth of home.
Vitamin D is the key to winter health. We can’t make enough from the natural light in the UK between October and March, so raise your intake of D-rich foods. These include oily fish, eggs and cheese. UK health authorities now say that a vitamin D supplement is a good idea for everyone during the winter.
Getting active is even more essential in the midwinter darkness. Whether it is at the gym or on the run, get moving to boost that mood.
Bring on those longer daylight hours. Here’s to a happy (not SAD) 2017!
a hot sauna sounds very tempting in this weather - and if it helps with SAD, even better. I will try it out in the interests of research!
You can also benefit from taking in heat from sauna/steam rooms and getting a SAD lamp. I find these help in winter
it is all about the outdoors - hard to do on wet days but any hint of sunshine and I am scratching at the office door like a dog wanting to be let out! Now I know why.
My fish in-take triples in the winter months - can't go without a decent supply of Vitamin D and it definitely boosts mood as well as its other benefits.
My brother-in-law suffers really badly in the winter with his moods. The one thing that helps keeps him stable are his workouts, outdoors when he can.