Updated: Nov 25, 2020
The shorter and darker days of winter can have a profound affect on our mental health and the 2020 lockdown induced isolation is definitely not helping!
Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression experienced during particular seasons, usually Winter. It's common to be affected by the changing seasons such as, having a lower mood or energy levels when it gets colder, but if your feelings are interfering with your everyday life, it could be a sign that you have depression. If these feelings recur at the same time of year it may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The exact causes aren't known, but it's believed that reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter winter days plays a part. It's believed the lack of sunlight might stop a the hypothalamus working properly, which may:
increase the production of melatonin: making you sleepy
lower production of serotonin: which affects your mood and is linked to depression
affect the body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD
The symptoms include feeling low, depressed, demotivated, low on energy, withdrawn and isolated.
So what can be done about it?
Try to get as much natural sunlight as possible
Try Light Therapy - these simulate sunlight
Talk to your family and friends about your feelings
Explain your symptoms to your doctor
Take plenty of regular exercise
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Try and minimise stressful situations
Eat a healthy and balanced diet, check this blog
Try and minimise stressful situations, check this blog