In the UK it's coming to the time of year where the seasons change and start to play havoc on our bodies and minds. Many people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and if you are you might know the symptoms, which are described in this study as as 'atypical depressive symptoms':
Other symptoms described are as follows:
We’ve been culprits of SAD ourselves and have tried many different solutions to resolve or reduce the symptoms listed above, so if any of these resonate with you then please read on as we hope that these handy tips will help you overcome your seasonal affective disorder this autumn/winter.
1. Vitamin D supplements
A 2015 study of healthy young women found "differences in depression by season were partially explained by seasonal changes in vitamin D". If regular stints outside aren't possible then a regular daily dose of Vitamin D might be the boost you need.
We've been taking these ones for ages (which come as full year’s supply for the price of a couple of shandies) with good results.
2. Go out for a walk at lunch times
This kills two birds with one stone because not only are you getting exercise (which is a natural anti-depressant), but you are also getting precious sunlight, and contrary to popular opinion, sunlight through clouds is enough to get some of that luscious vitamin D through your system.
Additional bonus points are given for mindful walking which we’ll let you do your own research on but to be brief; is a flavour of the practise of mindfulness. If you need guidance check out the Headspace app if you’re a paying subscriber as they have released guided mindful walking meditations you can switch on and move to.
Alternatively ditch the podcast whilst you walk and give your brain some much needed reboot time/downtime.
3. Go on holiday
The ultimate solution to your autumn/winter woes could be a full evacuation of the British Isles.
If you're in the enviable position of having some spare holiday days left by the end of the year and some savings, you may be surprised to discover that an unseasonable jolly to locate some sun is more achievable than you think.
For example in the Canary islands, the temperatures can get up to 21 celsius this time of year. Lovely.
Alternatively if you are into your winter sports, you won't need any convincing about the depression beating qualities of the slopes for some adrenaline packed ‘bluebird’ days.
The bottom line is that having a little trip away planned isn't just 7 days in the sun, it's also the weeks of anticipation beforehand that keep you going through those dark days and nights.
4. Natural / light therapy
One problem during autumn and winter is waking up and general early morning grogginess. We bought a Lumie light years ago and we've found it to be an incredible boon to us for waking up on time feeling more refreshed on those dark mornings.
The light comes on slowly and tricks your brain into thinking that sun has just come up. It definitely works for us.
5. Regular exercise
Exercise is in itself an antidepressant, if you don't run, cycle or go to the gym, we'd would advise using at least one day on your weekends to get out in nature and do a walk of a few hours. Over the years we've found it to be amazing how it boosts our mentality on the following Monday back in the office.
6. Evening mini-holidays - optimise your home comforts
Let's not forget that autumn and winter is a time to massage your spirit. That means getting all cosy inside, fire on, slippers on, make a warming stew or soup, cover yourself in a blanket and watch a heart warming comedy film.
Don't let your evening pass you by, create a plan each week, have themed evenings. We remember brainstorming themes for evenings once, and one of them was ‘Spielburgers’ (Steve Spielberg film and burgers), we know, genius.
After a hard day at the office, create a mini holiday for yourself and your loved ones.
We hope some of these ideas work to help you ease into winter in control of your SAD. Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried any or would recommend anything to other readers.
Thanks for reading!
Neil + Fifi xoxo
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