By Amber Bogumil
February is on its way out and spring will be here before we know it. While it’s getting lighter a bit earlier every day, the dark evenings can still leave many of us feeling unproductive. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder can leave some people feeling more intense moods and emotions, that are out of their control.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as it’s more commonly known, can have many severe symptoms that often disrupt people’s daily lives. It is described as a form of depression, causing low moods, sleep problems, and behavioural problems; to name a few symptoms.
It is particularly prominent in winter, caused by the colder weather and shorter hours of daylight. The question is, how can it be combatted?
Seize the day
The most obvious solution is to give yourself more daylight. It’s irritating for sure, to feel like your day has ended at 5:00 pm when you’ve still got so much to do. By getting up a little bit earlier and making the most of the daylight hours, you’ll have more time to be productive and tick everything off your list.
A lack of sunlight entering through the eyes causes a chemical imbalance in the brain, affecting serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone) with the effect on mood and sleep being the most prominent.
Being stuck inside is something else that can make us feel like a day has been wasted. Get some fresh air. Get out and about, even if it’s just a small walk with no place in mind, it’s another way to make the most of the daylight and leave you feeling fresh and awake.
Research has even shown that the smell of roses and other flowers such as lavender and jasmine, can reduce anxiety and relax humans.
Keep yourself happy and healthy
Whether it’s spending time with the people you care about most or eating a balanced diet and exercising, looking after yourself is very important. All of these factors have a massive impact on your health and as a result also improving your mood. Particularly in winter months, people can lack motivation. After all, no one really wants to be exercising in the horrible cold weather but pushing yourself to keep up the regime can really help some people.
As for company, no one can make you feel better than the people you love. By surrounding yourself with your favourite people, their mood will instantly impact your own and before you know it you’ll be back to your usual self.
Keep important things planned ahead
You’re more likely to get up and get things done once they’ve been planned ahead. Write down the things you’ve got to do, no matter how small, and when the time comes you’ll be far more likely to get them done. You’ll feel much more organised and accomplished before you know it.
Research has shown writing down the details and giving yourself a realistic time frame can really boost your mood once they are done. However, lack of sleep can really affect your brain’s ability to remember tasks to do at a later date, so get a decent kip each night.
Make the most of it
You don’t always have to be doing something. If you’re feeling in a mood where you don’t want to get up to much then that’s okay. Have a day where you relax, chill out as much as you feel you need to and don’t feel guilty about it. We all need a day off every now and again.
See a professional
If things don’t seem to improve with home remedies, it is not something you should just deal with, see a doctor. SAD is a type of depression and it can affect your ability to function and mood. Professionals will be able to recommend something to help, whether that’s medication or a lightbox to increase light consumption.