Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.
SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.
Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.
Symptoms of SAD
Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?
- Low energy
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Losing sleep
- Feeling sluggish or irritated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Changes in appetite or weight
Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?
Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.
Causes of SAD
If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:
- Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
- Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.
How to Beat SAD
If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:
- As much as we all hate it – exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
- Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
- Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
- It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
- Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
- Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
- Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
- Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
- As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.
I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?