As the chill sets in, have you noticed that your mood has plummeted with the temperature? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern and is often referred to as "winter depression" because the symptoms tend to be more severe during the winter.
Other symptoms of SAD can include loss of motivation and energy, battling to get up in the morning and feeling sleepy throughout the day, battling to focus and craving carbohydrates and gaining weight. While it's hard to avoid the Winter gloom completely unless you can spend 6 months south of the Equator,in which case lucky you! We have some tips to help keep your mood buoyant throughout the cold season.
Make the most of the daylight hours
While getting outside during the winter may not cure all of the symptoms of SAD, it's worth taking the opportunity to get out into natural light when possible. Take a walk during your lunch break, find a sunny spot in the park to eat your lunch and ditch the sunglasses to get as much light as you can.
When you can't make it, fake it
Using a SAD light box containing very bright flourescent tubes will increase your exposure to light during the winter months and can help alleviate negative symptoms. They are available in different strengths and sizes, a strength of at least 2,500 lux is recommended for SAD but many people find 10,000 lux to be most effective. You can use it every day and at any time, it's best to experiment to find a routine that works for you. Our Yoga studios are equipped with SAD lights for just that reason, so not only does it feel like a sunny day when you're on the mat, it helps lift your mood like one too!
Keep your body moving
Even when motivation is low, it's important to keep moving. Going for a long walk or run on the weekend is a great way to combine getting some natural light with getting a workout. During the week, step on the mat with us where you can find a bit off sunshine in the heart of the city all year round. Not only will our Yoga and Pilates classes help to relieve physical stress and tension, they'll also help to clear your mind and improve your focus.
Avoid the comfort food
It can be tempting to reach for the comfort foods we all crave at this time of year, but the mood fix will only be temporary. Of course everyone needs a little indulgence every now and again, but balance that with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and lean protein. Some people do find it helpful to take extra vitamin B12 or Vitamin D to supplement their diet.
Gather those you love
Take time to do things you enjoy, with those that you love. Having a strong support network around can be so helpful when low moods hit, and it's especially easy to feel down and lonely in the darker months. Plus, Christmas is a notoriously stressful and lonely time of year for many, so by surrounding yourself with those you're close to and taking time to do activities that make you feel good, it'll be that much easier to lessen stress and anxiety and to kick those feelings of loneliness to the curb.
15 November 2016