Seasonal Affective Disorder

Beating the Winter Blues the Natural Way

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Do you find yourself feeling affected by the change of season? Cold weather, darker mornings and shorter days can often leave us feeling lacklustre and low on energy. If you find yourself suffering during the darker months, you may be one of the many people who experiences Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Symptoms usually start in Autumn and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

We’ve put together some natural ways to boost your mood and ward off the winter blues. If you would like to find out more and work on a tailor made plan based on your individual requirements we have a variety of doctors and therapists that can help. For more information on our services please click here or give us a call on 0203 794 9108

1. Take a walk
As much as you may be tempted to stay indoors, wrapping up warm and taking a brisk walk to start your day or during your lunch break can be incredibly beneficial to your mood. Take advantage of the day light and getting some fresh air can reinvigorate you and make you feel more positive.

2. Eat well
When the weather gets colder it is easy to indulge in sugary comfort food that may leave you feeling more sluggish. Nurture your body with healthy foods such as leafy greens, protein rich foods and good fats to stabilise blood sugar levels and give you slow release energy to get you through the day. For more top tips see our previous post with nutritional advice for winter by clicking here.

3. Get a good sleep
During the darker months it is easy to get out of a regular sleep routine, but it’s important to keep a good routine and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to ensure your body is recharged. Creating a bed time ritual can help to gently remind your body it is time for sleep; drinking a camomile tea, lighting a candle on your bedside table, switching off from technology at least 30 minutes before bed and having a warm bath are all great ways to improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Practice mindful meditation
Listening to guided meditation or simply closing your eyes and focusing on relaxing each part of your body and trying to clear your mind has been shown to improve mood and uplift your spirits. If you are unsure where to start, downloading mindfulness apps or searching guided meditation on Youtube can help set you on the path to understanding meditation and the benefits it can have on your life.

5. Try light therapy
If you are really suffering in the darker months, consider investing in a light box to give yourself a boost of light therapy. Even 15 minutes a day can significantly boost your mood.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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As the days will soon start to get shorter and weather becomes more bitter, many of us find ourselves feeling persistently low in mood or becoming more irritable, and often don’t know the reasons why. We often blame the changes of weather for our mood changes, remarking on how much of a “miserable day” it is, but did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognised mental health disorder? Those who suffer with SAD will find their mood and energy is much more affected by autumnal and wintery changes, which can also worsen symptoms of depression. We may also find ourselves craving heavier meals more often, something commonly associated with the comforts of winter, which can lead to an increase in weight gain and affect our confidence levels further.

But what causes SAD? The exact causes are still unknown, but many professionals draw links between the decrease of light across autumn and winter, which can also disrupt your body’s internal clock as it relies on natural light.

If you feel you may suffer with SAD you can try changing a few lifestyle aspects such as increasing your exercise routine, getting outside more to take advantage of the natural light on these short days, or practising mindfulness to tune into how you are feeling. Alternatively, at The Italian Medical Centre we offer a range of holistic services that focus on you as a whole in order to treat your needs in the best way. Whether psychological services or nutritional advice, we can find the best treatments to support you.