Are you feeling ‘SAD’? Why you’re not alone, and five ways you can beat it
Are you struggling to get up in the morning, or often feel sad or anxious? Find out why you could have SAD – and how to help combat it.
We all know how hard it can be to get out of bed in the morning when the days get shorter and the mornings get darker as we transition from autumn to winter. But for many, low mood, poor sleep, and other symptoms can linger beyond the first few days and continue throughout the whole of winter.
When symptoms begin interfering with your day-to-day life, and they return around the same time each year, you could be suffering from SAD. ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD) affects three in 100 people in the UK, with many people experiencing symptoms of depression.
This occurs when the body produces increased levels of melatonin, a hormone which controls how sleepy we feel. Melatonin production is linked to light and darkness. In the colder, darker seasons, our brain produces more melatonin making you feel drowsy as a result.
Five ways you can combat SAD
To help combat SAD, the experts at Kalms have suggested five tips and tricks to boost your energy levels and help fight fatigue.
1) Spend as much time outdoors in sunlight as you can during the day
Whether it’s taking an extra walk at lunch or keeping the blinds open and sitting nearer a window whilst working. If you can’t get outside, try using a SAD lamp to give you a boost. Light therapy lamps have been shown to help people who struggle with winter tiredness as they stop the secretion of melatonin, which in turn can help relieve tiredness.
2) Make sure you get enough vitamin D and iron
Deficiencies in vitamin D and iron can make you feel more tired, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough via your diet. We usually make vitamin D from sunlight during the summer months, instead during winter you can turn to food sources such as oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals, and spreads.
Good sources of iron include dark green leafy vegetables, lean red meat, nuts, beans, lentils, and wholegrains.
3) Get a good night’s sleep
It’s still important to get a good night’s sleep to help you feel well rested and refreshed for the day ahead, but if you’re one of the estimated 21 million Brits who suffer with poor sleep, this may be trickier than it sounds. Valerian root extract has been used for centuries as a trusted sleep aid due to its herbal sedative effect.
4) Use lavender oil
Lavender oil has a long-standing association with relieving symptoms of depression and mild anxiety. Over 15 clinical trials have shown that a daily capsule of uniquely prepared lavender oil can relieve the physical and psychological symptoms in just one to two weeks.
Benefits are comparable to commonly used anti-depression medications without problems such as sedation, addiction or interaction with other medications.
New guidelines from the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP), support the recommendation of pharmaceutical grade lavender oil when treating Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), highlighting its efficacy.
5) Start the day with exercise
When you’re running low on energy, probably the last thing you want to do is venture out into the cold, but a healthy dose of morning exercise can release a welcome burst of feelgood endorphins.
If it’s too cold outside, or you don’t fancy running the dark, try to migrate your workouts indoors at the local gym or at home. Aim for the NHS guidelines of at least 120 minutes of exercise per week.
Read more advice to help you beat SAD
You can read more advice on how to combat SAD in these articles:
- Is SAD (seasonal affective disorder) clouding your relationship?
- Keeping on top of SAD during the winter – eight tips to try
- Seven ways you can beat SAD this winter, according to a doctor
- How your diet affects your mental health – and what you can do about it
The anxiety-relieving effects of uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil are available only in Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules, available in Boots, Asda and online at kalmsrange.com and at Amazon.
Photo by Tiago Bandeira