Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as it’s also known as, is a condition that many of my clients struggle with. New research shows that one in three people in the UK suffers from the condition. Whilst we’ve had a pretty mild winter and we’re heading towards warmer and brighter days, I know I’m not alone in thinking that this point of the year is a tough time. One the one hand, the spring flowers are making a break through, giving hope. On the other, the constant dark, wet mornings and evenings can leave you a little on the ‘go-slow’ side.
According to research, women are 40% more likely than men to experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, sometimes referred to as “winter depression”. It affects people in different ways: for some, it’s low energy levels to low self-esteem whereas for others, anxiety to comfort eating. This has made me look deeper into how we can support ourselves, and others, to help lift our mood and create our own sunshine.
Here are five of my favourite natural remedies to help ease the symptoms and leave you feeling more like you. As a SAD sufferer myself, I find these are quick and simple to implement daily and I’m sure you’ll agree. If you have anything that helps you through the winter blues, please do let me know in the comments!
1. Mr Sandman …
People who live with SAD often have trouble sleeping at night and getting up in the morning. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule improves sleep, giving you naturally more energy when you wake. Create yourself a gentle morning and evening routine and stick to it daily. The most effective thing I have found is starting your day with a short guided meditation (just 5 minutes can do it!) This keeps your brain calm and relaxed in Alpha state, whilst priming you for the day ahead. Here is one I have recorded for you to try! Just 5 minutes to kick start your day the best way. Click here for details.
Essential oils can influence the area of the brain responsible for controlling moods and the body’s internal clock; oils can also positively influence sleep and appetite. To help you relax, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your bath at night – try lavender, Roman chamomile and bergamot. Oils great for helping you to feel awake and energised are lemon, peppermint, sweet orange and rosemary. If you have an oil burner or diffuser, add a few drops in the morning or evening and let the scent fill your bedroom.
3. ♫ Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations! ♫
Listen to uplifting music. Create your very own ‘Feel Good’ playlist of songs that make you feel good and that you can’t help but either sing along to or tapping your toe to. Music can bring memories flooding back to you … Use this to your advantage and choose songs that remind you of times when you felt good, such as being on holiday or a special occasion. This will naturally help to raise your vibration and mood.
4. Ain’t no sunshine …
Low levels of Vitamin D were linked to SAD in research reported in 2014 in the journal Medical Hypothesis. Studies have since revealed that those taking vitamin D supplements saw significant improvement in their low mood or depression. Foods such as oily fish, mushrooms, eggs and yogurt are naturally high in vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about testing your vitamin D levels and whether supplements would be right for you. You can get Vitamin D tablets from many natural food shops and pharmacies.
5. Move On Up!
Exercise can help alleviate SAD, even depression. Outdoor exercise is the most helpful, even if the sun isn’t shining, you can still get that all important vitamin D from natural daylight exposure. However, if you can’t exercise outside, choose a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine close to a window at the gym. Exercise can also help offset weight gain that is common with SAD, so whether you are dusting off your running shoes or picking up a yoga mat, know that it has many positive side effects in the winter months.
These are just a few simple and natural techniques you can keep in mind over the coming weeks, should your mood or energy be affected. Above all, remember you are not alone! If you would like to have a chat about receiving additional support through becoming a member of the Warrior Academy or 1-2-1 Coaching, don’t hesitate to reach out.