Are you SAD that it’s Autumn?
Your alarm goes off every morning at 06:45. Bleary-eyed, you get out of bed and open the blinds to reveal…a pitch-black sky! There’s no sign of any daylight yet. It’s that time of year again!
Just as we Brits are lulled into a false sense of security with (slightly) warmer weather and lighter evenings, before you know it, we’re back to dark mornings, and even darker afternoons. Yes, Autumn has very much arrived, bringing with it more dreary weather, shorter days and less light.
Although those most dramatically affected are those in the higher latitudes (i.e. Scandinavia), many people in the UK are negatively affected by this seasonal shift. Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) – also known as ‘winter blues’ – is a type of depression (that can range from mild to severe cases). Symptoms tend to be more pronounced between September and April.
It’s common – and nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. The NHS estimates that SAD affects approximately 1 in 15 people in the UK during the darker months – that’s around 25% of the population; with 8% of Brits suffering from severe symptoms.
So how do you know if you may have SAD?
There are a myriad of symptoms, which you should look out for. These include:
- Lethargy, lack of energy and an inability (or lack of desire) to carry out your normal routine
- Sleep problems, including difficulty staying awake during the day whilst having disturbed sleeping at night
- Loss of sex drive and/or a disinterest in physical contact
- Anxiety and the inability to cope with stressful situations
- Social problems, irritability, disinterest in seeing people
- Depression, feelings of ‘doom and gloom’ and a general despondency for no apparent reason
- Craving for stodgy food, in particular carbohydrates and sweet foods, which can result in weight gain
This type of seasonal mood shift/depression is common – many people in the UK suffer with SAD, so it’s important to remember that you’re not alone! Do speak out about it to loved ones, friend, colleagues or your healthcare professional. There are high chances they suffer from it too – you can work together to help and support each other through the darker months!
While light therapy is a popular treatment for SAD – using a 10,000 lux light box for 30-60 mins a day has been shown to improve mood and ease existing symptoms – lifestyle factors play a large role too. Nothing beats the real thing. Getting as much natural sunlight as possible is particularly important, as is managing your stress levels.
Exercise is also integral to tackling symptoms of SAD. It has long been known that regular exercise is good for our physical health, but studies also show exercise to be of huge benefit to our mental wellbeing. Exercise gives you control of your body and is a mood booster.
Visit a healthcare professional
Ask your chiropractor to give you a general health check during the Autumn/Winter months, to make sure that your bones, joints and muscles are functioning properly. They can also advise on the best exercise and dietary solution for you. Chiropractors can also recommend supplements to ease any SAD symptoms, such as Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin (something we don’t get enough of during the darker months). Other complementary therapies, such as Psychotherapy, Counselling, Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness have been shown to help improve symptoms of SAD.
London Wellness advocates that ‘prevention is better than a cure’, so now’s the time to preempt any winter blues symptoms, and help to combat them!
To find out how we can help you with any SAD symptoms, from musculoskeletal and massage, through to mindfulness and nutrition, call us on 020 7531 4444 to know more about how our practitioners can keep you happy and healthy this winter!
If you know someone that suffers – or could suffer – from SAD, please share this article with them!