Do you feel SAD in winter?
Do you get depressed or over eat during cold winter days / nights if so you could be experiencing SAD. It is quite a fitting name as it really does make some people feel sad. I used to experience this when I was working full time as I was getting up when it was dark and coming home from work in the dark. Light does have an inpact on health and wellbeing so it is not surprise that people start to feel depressed if the days are dark and miserable.
What is Seasonal affective disorder?
According to the NHS UK website it is a recognised condition
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.
The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.
SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
(source : NHS UK)
Can you treat seasonal affective disorder?
There are ways to treat SAD that have been proven to help reduce the symptoms
- St Johns Wort – check this does not affect any other meds you are on
- Talking therapies
- Light Therapy
Light Therapy is actually recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence but it is not readily available on the NHS in the UK. However you can purchase a SAD Lamp, there are so many on the market to choose from and i was lucky enough to be able to try Needlite which is a non intrusive looking lamp. I remember a few years ago when people first started talking about SAD the lamp on the market were large ugly things but these lights are really stylish. I originally got them to use in my home office and they didn’t cause reflection on my laptop screen or cause me eye strain, however it was summer when I was using them so not yet sure if they relieve the symptoms of SAD. I have now decided to put them in the living room as at the end of the day this is where I actually spend most of my time. I know I should be sat at my desk working but I am more likely to be sat on the sofa catching up with my blogging. Also my mum who does suffer from SAD will be using them so if her mood improves then I know they work
These lights have been developed in the northern hemisphere where they have dark days for more than half the year so fatigue and feeling low is a common symptom there. The soft white light claims to improve mood and like with most modern technology there is even an app so you can discover your ideal light balance.
I can not comment yet if these lights actually work as I have been sunning myself in Australia and about to go off to USA but when I get back in a couple of weeks winter is going to be in full swing. I will be getting depressed anyway as I wont be travelling for a few months but will let you know if these lights help (and I might book another mini trip somewhere as well)
Read more about Needlite here
If however you are feeling depressed all year round there is support you can get so please speak to your GP.
So keep following me to see how I get on with these lights.