What you can do if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Winter Blues.

Do you or a loved one suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ?

Symptoms are:

  • Feeling depressed in winter
  • Less energy in winter
  • Lack of Libido in winter
  • Inability to concentrate in winter
  • Lack of motivation in winter

Now we all may have these symptoms to some extent because of the latitude of the UK means that we get seasons, and it is natural to have a time to withdraw in winter. But people with SAD feel far more than a natural time to withdraw, they can really struggle with their mood, their energy and therefore all aspects of work and home life.

Ideally one should prepare for winter in advance, but it is never too late to implement some steps to help yourself, just remember next year to start implanting these as soon as the clocks go back, or even earlier.

What should you (or your loved one) do?

  • Buy a light box – or ideally two, one for work and one for home. These have been shown to help people with SAD possibly by increasing serotonin levels and decreasing production of melatonin. Serotonin is often thought of as a natural anti-depressant and melatonin is often said to be the hormone of sleep. It is thought that people with SAD may produce too much melatonin and so find it much harder to wake up in the morning than non SAD people.
  • Learn to pace yourself in winter – may be don’t schedule those early morning meetings if you can possibly help it, say no to taking on new projects and tasks if you can delegate or postpone. Learn to just say NO!
  • Correct your vitamin D levels. Have you vitamin D levels checked by your GP or by me or take on online test. And make sure your levels are over 100nmol/L. Certainly over 80nmol/L.  There has been shown to be a correlation between low vitamin D status and higher probability of suffering from SAD.
  • Consider taking a vitamin B complex (all the B vitamins in one tablet) to help with energy levels, and make sure stress does not deplete you.
  • Consider taking magnesium – most adults in the UK are depleted in magnesium and as it is vital for cellular function, repair, energy production and many other processes, it would be wise to consider this mineral as a supplement.
  • Consider supporting your adrenal glands. Adrenal fatigue and SAD go together in my experience. The more adrenally fatigued you are the more likely you are to suffer from SAD – at least that is what I have found in clinical practice. Supporting the adrenals with herbs like ginseng, gotu kola and Ashwaganda can be a very useful tool, however, remember also to carry on supporting the adrenals and ideally restroing their health over the course of the year, so that the following year the SAD will be much better.
  • Communicate – with loved ones and colleagues that you suffer from SAD, explain a bit about what SAD is and how it affects you. Let them know what support you need from then.
  • Buy a light alarm clock so you can wake up with the ‘sun’ (well light anyway) and go to bed with the ‘sun’ (again light). It fools your pineal gland into thinking it’s really day light and is less shocking to your adrenal glands than the sound of an alarm clock.
  • Consider taking St John’s wort a herb that supports serotonin levels and has mild to moderate anti-depressant effects.
  • Get some early nights, ideally make every night an early night in the winter! At least earlier than the summer months, and if you are able to, then get a lie in on your day’s off.
  • Acknowledge important anniversaries. Often in winter there are difficult memories, as many people die around Christmas and the New Year, there can also be other emotional anniversaries too. Don’t deny these or push them away, but acknowledge them in whatever way is right for you. Write about them in a journal, visit graves or memorials, talk to friends or relatives or make a memory box. Don’t keep these feelings locked up inside.
  • Exercise is an individual thing, it makes some SAD sufferers feel much better and others much worse. My suscpicon is this depends on the level of underlying adrenal fatigue. But note what works for you and stick to that. Don’t be tempted to try and copy what works for someone else, or impose a different regime on your body from the one that it wants!
  • Have a strategy in place of things you know support you, whether that’s having a cozy time watching films, or having meals with friends, or snuggling up in front of the fire, or knitting scarves for loved ones. Eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and supplementing for deficiencies should help see you through.

Lastly if you need some help with this, Naturopathy and Bioresonance therapy can help. I can test you to see what is out of balance and what needs to be harmonised or energised and then we can treat you with an energising bioresonance session, or if necessary correct nutritional deficiencies, make you up some herbs to support your adrenals and tailor a program to suit your individual needs.

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