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Are you Sad?

Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is defined as a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes referred to as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually at their most severe during the winter.

Symptoms of seasonal depression include:

  • A persistent low mood
  • Feelings of depression, guilt or worthlessness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping longer than usual and struggling to get up in the morning
  • Lack of pleasure or interest in everyday activities

 What Causes SAD?

The cause of seasonal affective disorder is usually linked with reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The decrease in sunlight may affect your body’s internal clock (also referred to as circadian rhythm) and lead to depression.

Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin (a brain chemical that affects mood) that may trigger depression.

A change in seasons can also disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in mood and sleep patterns.

Here are some handy tips on how to fight the winter blues:

  • Get as much natural sunlight as possible
  • Exercise regularly
  • Focus on hobbies that you find soothing or enjoyable
  • Invest in a sad lamp and reap the benefits of light therapy
  • Talk through your feelings with someone you trust
  • Make your work or home environments as light and airy as possible
  • Sit near windows when indoors
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Try some mood enhancing supplements

Remember that everyone suffers differently when it comes to seasonal affective disorder, so certain tips that help someone else might not be suitable for you. It’s important to stay positive and keep trying to find a remedy that suits you best.

If you try out all these tips and you still find that SAD is preventing you from living a normal life, then it would probably be advisable to make an appointment with your local GP.

Also, take care to keep warm this winter as feeling cold may make you feel more depressed. Dress in warm shoes and clothes, enjoy hot food and drink and try to remember that spring isn’t very far away.