The clocks go back on October 31st, and while we gain an extra hour of Halloween fun, the lack of daylight and change in weather might have some of us feeling anxious or low. This Wellness Wednesday the team at 1001 are discussing Seasonal Affective Disorder – also known as SAD – and offering some simple tips to help us all deal with the darker months.
What is SAD?
On their website, the mental health charity, Mind, say it’s common to be affected by changing seasons and weather. For example, you might feel happier in the summer, then find your mood or energy levels drop when it gets colder. You might even notice changes in your usual eating and sleeping patterns.
If your feelings start to get in the way of day-to-day life, this could be a sign of depression. And if you notice these feelings coming up at a certain time of year, this could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder.
Symptoms of SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder is different for different people and can vary from season to season. But here are some of the key symptoms:
- Lack of energy
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Not wanting to see people
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty waking up, or difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Feeling sad, low, tearful, guilty or hopeless
- Changes in your appetite, for example, feeling more hungry than usual or wanting more snacks
- Being more prone to physical health problems, such as colds, infections or other illnesses
- Losing interest in sex or physical contact
- Suicidal feelings
- Other symptoms of depression
If you also have other mental health problems, you might find that things get worse at times when you’re affected by SAD.
Practical tips from the 1001 team
To help support our readers this Wellness Wednesday, the 1001 team have been sharing ideas on how to deal with the darker months.
The tips we’ve listed below are really helpful if you’re looking for some simple mood-boosters to apply to your day, but we of course always recommend speaking to your GP if you’re struggling.
- Make the most of natural light during the day. Get outside if you can. When you’re inside, open your curtains or blinds and try and sit by a window
- Consider investing in a Lumie light or SAD therapy lamp. This type of light therapy suppresses melatonin secretion, either by helping you wake up gently with sunrise simulation or to combat the feelings of sluggishness during the day with bright light
- Take vitamin D supplements. In the UK alone around 10 million people are said to be deficient
- Break down your to-do list into manageable chunks. Set a timer for five, ten or fifteen minutes and tackle what you can of that task. Better still, hop on Spotify and listen to 1001 You’ve Got This playlist! All the 1001 playlists are uplifting and will get you through those daily jobs
- Try and get a good night’s sleep to help set your mood for the day ahead. Start winding down an hour before bed by ditching screens for a bath and a book
- Stay in touch with the good people in your life. If you feel yourself withdrawing, plan in a coffee with a friend or an autumn walk with family and notice how you feel afterwards
- Plan ahead. We’re all human and will have down days, but you can prepare for these by batch cooking and stocking up the freezer when you have the energy, and maybe even putting together a self-care box, full of things that bring comfort and relaxation when you need it
Who to contact for help
- Samaritans – open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to listen to anything that’s upsetting you. T: 116 123 (free from any phone)
E: email@example.com or visit some branches in person
The Welsh Language Line is 0300 123 3011 and is open 7 pm–11 pm every day
- SANEline – support for people experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else
T: 0300 304 7000 4.30pm–10.30pm every day
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – support for anyone who wants to talk
T: 0800 58 58 58 5 pm-midnight every day or use their webchat service
How the 1001 team are dealing with the darker months
Like you, the 1001 team are doing our best to be kind to ourselves, to get our jobs done but know when to rest, and to look out for each other.
You might enjoy our Wellness Wednesday blog about the benefits of a healthy routine
And don’t forget to join us over on Spotify for some musical motivation!
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