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Self care ideas

What is seasonal affective disorder and how can I help myself if I have it?

If you struggle with your mood and behaviours during the winter months, you may have Seasonal affective disorder. In this blog I explain what it is and some self-care techniques.

What is seasonal affective disorder and how can I help myself if I have it?

Written by Alison Ralph                     Date 03 January 2024

Do you struggle with your mental health during the winter months?

Many people find this time of year and going into the New Year a difficult time. It might be related to Christmas, but it can also be a result of the changing seasons. You are not alone if this is you and this condition is actually recognised as SAD, seasonal affective disorder. 
It is explained by the NHS as a type of depression that comes and goes with the change of the seasons. The symptoms are normally more apparent and severe during the winter and so it can be referred to as winter depression. 
In this blog post I will explain:
1. What seasonal affective disorder is
2. The possible symptoms of seasonal affective disorder
3. Ways to help yourself overcome the negative feelings of seasonal affective disorder

What is seasonal affective disorder?

There are a few different reasons that you may experience Seasonal affective disorder at this time of the year. These reasons are:

  1. Poor sleep patterns – poor sleep patterns can cause a dip in motivation and energy levels 
  2. Low serotonin levels – this can cause a low mood
  3. High melatonin levels – which can cause you to feel tired
  4. Family history of mental illness – you may be more prone to mental health illnesses 
  5. Lack of sunlight – this can cause more melatonin

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder

As with everything else, each person has a different experience of seasonal affective disorder. These are the most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder:

  • Feeling low
  • Excessively tired
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Feeling irritable
  • Craving carbohydrates 

It can be difficult to face the world and continue with everyday life when these symptoms are present so here are some ideas which can help you with seasonal affective disorder. 

Self-care ideas to overcome SAD symtoms

If you would like to improve your symptoms of SAD to help with your day to day life then here are 5 ideas to try:

A picture of a number one

Go outside during the daylight – this can hep to increase serotonin levels which helps with overall mood

Walking outdoors during daylight

Brighten up your environment – have good lighting in your environment or invest in a light box – this gives the same affects as going outdoors

A bright workspace
An image of the number two
An image of number 3

Eat well – it is always good to eat well as this can improve our overall feeling of ourself and increases energy levels.

A bowl of fruit

Exercise (outdoors if you can) – this can help you to feel more motivated, energised and improve mood

Back view of a lady running
Image of the number 4
An image of number 5

Talk to a counsellor – this can help you to identify patterns in your mood, behaviours and feelings and may help you to make new ones that will help you to feel better. 

Alison talking to a client

If you would like to find out more about how therapy could help you, please get in touch – Alison Ralph Hypnotherapy And Counselling | 07719032346 | 

As you can see, there are many ways to help yourself if you are struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is important to remember that each self-care idea will not work for everyone so it is about finding the correct one for you. If you find that one of these suggestions help you then please leave a comment and let us know!

If you are struggling still after the self care, please see your doctor. They might recommend medication, even if just for a short time.