Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Winter Survival Part 1 - Why do I feel so SAD?

Picture Borrowed From Internet

First up sorry for the outrageous play on words in the post title.

It's no secret that I cannot take the cold, no way, no how. Myself and our middle son feel the cold the most in our household (as I type this I feel I am repeating myself lol, I'm thinking I may have moaned about the cold weather before) we just can't take the frost and chill brrrr.

Winter has it's good points and benefits but for many it comes with a condition called
Seasonal Affective Disorder - or SAD for short and also known as "Winter Depression"
This condition causes the sufferer to feel low, have a lack of motivation, problems getting out of bed and many more problamatic symptoms including physical ones.
The severity differs from person to person.

Even people who do not have SAD can feel down on winter days and need to find ways to pick themselves up so in this first part of my Winter Survival Series we will look at ways to survive the "Winter Blues".

Get some sun.
The lack of sunlight hours is the main culprit of SAD symptoms.
Although the frosty weather may cause you to hide under your duvet, brave the outdoors and get some natural sunlight. Not only will you top up your vitamin D but will help to increase the production of Serotonin - the hormone that controls sleep, mood and appetite, reduce the production of melatonin - the hormone that makes us sleepy and help the working of our circadian rhythm -the internal body clock.
If you are unable to spend time in natural sunlight you can purchase specially manufactured light boxes and/or lamps.

Picture borrowed from web

Get Moving.
Regular exercise is important for both our physical and mental health, it can help boost your energy levels, blood flow, immunity, self esteem and waste elimination.
The gym is often the first place we think off when we talk about exercising and it's brilliant for the variety of equipment and classes but if the gym isn't for you, for whatever reason, there's plenty of alternatives.
 Walking is a great choice as it is free, gets you outside (soak up the sun) gets the heart racing and tones legs hips and bum. If you are feeling energetic or are quite fit why not step it up a gear(no pun intended) and jog or run instead.
 You can also workout at home, weights and kettlebells are readily accessible or you can make use of exercise dvds, online classes and Youtube videos.

Be Social.
Isolation and loneliness can make the symptoms even worse. Being around others is great for your emotional and physical well being.
Spend time with people, talk more, go out -it doesn't have to cost much you cold even go on a joint walk and get some sun(see a pattern here? lol)
Organise a day or night where a group of friends get together and socialise.

Get Some Sleep.
Although insomnia and/or sleep disturbance can be symptoms of SAD, it is important to try and regulate your sleeping pattern.
Aim to get adequate sleep at night. Use sleeping techniques if you find it difficult to fall asleep or even to stay asleep.
Take opportunities to nap during the day if you haven't slept well the night before.

Talk It Through.
Anxiety and stress will wreak havoc on your health at the best of times but teamed up with the feelings of SAD you can begin to feel in despair. We often bottle our feelings up and keep them inside but this can be very harmful.
Try to open up to someone close and trustworthy, share your feelings. The old adage - "a problem shared is a problem halved" has a lot of truth to it.
Consider therapy whether individual or group. Writing things down also helps.

Keep Calm.
The worse thing anyone can say to me when I'm in a panic is to calm down! If I could be calm I wouldn't be panicked, but taking measures to keep calm really helps when low feelings arise.
Although medication can help there are alternatives that you may like to try for example herbal teas, bach flower remedies, essential oils and aromatherapy(always check these are suitable for your usage), massage.
Practical exercises such as breathing techniques, counting, closing your eyes etc will also work wonders.
Prayer and meditating on all that is good can calm even the most tumorous situations.

The Art of Distraction.
Sometimes it's hard to think clearly, things get on top of you and you just can't deal with everything. Day-to-day stresses, or difficult issues can become too much to bare.
It's helpful to find something that will take your mind of your problems, even for a short while.
Find a hobby, play a game, read a book, volunteer for a good cause. Anything that will get your mind concentrating on something else.

Picture borrowed from web

I hope this post was useful and also helpful, Even if you don't feel the "Winter blues" it may help you to identify if someone you know has.
If you do feel low, whether in the winter or any time at all, please don't suffer in silence. Seek help.

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