Top Tips to reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder
SAD symptoms and the disorder itself can cause real misery and make life feel like an uphill struggle.
Here at Inspired To Change, we see a lot of people who suffer with SAD.
Here are some of our top tips to reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms to help you make it through the darker winter months without retreating under the covers.
Tip 1: A Little Light Exercise
We are always being told exercise is good for us, but did you know that just 10-20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day (that’s a brisk walk to you and me) can help stave off the symptoms of not just SAD, but also depression, chronic pain, heart disease and more? Such are the reported benefits that one New Scientist reporter wrote an article referring to exercise as ‘The Miracle Pill’. However – there is no need to join a gym – walking up the stairs at work, taking the kids to school on foot or taking the dog round the block works just fine. As long as your heart rate rises and you ‘feel’ like you’ve done something you’ll reap the benefits.
Tip 2: Make Your Calories Count
SAD symptoms can induce cravings for sugary, carbohydrate heavy and fatty foods that peak and trough your energy levels and moods. To help prevent this get a good balance of protein and healthy fats as well as your five a day; eat nutrition rich calories that will help you balance your energy and feel full and comforted for longer. There is a wealth of nutritional advice available through the internet, your GP and nutritional experts and if you feel you have some unhelpful eating habits as well as your SAD cravings, hypnotherapy can really help.
Tip 3: Top Up on Vitamin D
It has long been accepted that vitamin D is necessary to make and maintain strong bones, but did you know it is also crucial for our mental wellbeing too? Low levels of vitamin D are thought to impact our levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin which regulate our mood.
Most of the vitamin D we need is made when our skin is exposed to sunlight – something we don’t get much of once the clocks change! It’s this link with sunshine that is thought to explain how seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) becomes a problem in the darker winter months when low levels of sunlight mean we are unable to make enough vitamin D for ourselves.
This has led to the NHS recommending new guidelines around taking vitamin D supplements. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking a vitamin D supplement as it may already be included in your multivitamin or in prescribed medicines such as calcium supplements for osteoporosis.
And remember that while sunlight is great for vitamin D production, it’s also important not to burn so if you do find yourself taking a winter holiday to top up on vitamin D make sure you wear the appropriate sunscreen!
Tip 4: Hug Yourself Happy
Serotonin isn’t the only happy hormone. When you can’t get your sunshine fix top up your Oxytocin levels instead. Often called the ‘cuddle’ hormone’ oxytocin is released when we feel love, trust and understanding – it is designed to help us bond. Giving and receiving a good hug and snuggle is a great antidote to the dark and cold and you might even save on the heating bill too!
Tip 5: Take Some Time Out For You
Sad sufferers often report feeling less attractive and have a diminishing sex drive in the winter so to combat those lack lustre feelings take extra care of yourself; have a massage, have a beauty treatment, get your colours done, get a makeover, treat yourself to a special hair-cut. It might sound ridiculous, but the act of taking time and energy for yourself can improve your self-esteem, confidence, energy levels, mood and more.
Tip 6: Get some light on the subject
Many people report significant improvement in their symptoms when using SAD lights. These are lamps that simulate natural daylight unlike normal spectrum lightbulbs. There are a wide variety of SAD lamps on the market so do your research to find out which one would best suit you.
Tip 7: Make Positivity a Habit
People with a negative outlook are more likely to experience SAD symptoms. Being positive gives us a boost of serotonin to replace what we lose from lack of sunshine in the winter months. Which means the most important thing you can do to help yourself is to exchange negativity for positivity until you have created a positive thinking habit.
Positive affirmations, meditation, mindfulness practices and relaxation exercises can often help you begin to create a positive habit; however, they do require regular practice. Underlying issues can mean that this is easier said than done so you might need some help from your Inspired to Change hypnotherapist to start the process of creating a habit of positivity.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help Relieve SAD Symptoms
Using hypnotherapy is a fast way to create positive new behaviour habits and you can often experience improvements from the very first session. Hypnotherapy works by helping you to identify negative behaviour patterns and provides tools and techniques to help you overcome them. It helps you to create positive new behaviour patterns and locks them in for permanent change helping you to live a more positive, happy life, counteracting many SAD symptoms and in some cases relieving them altogether.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you overcome SAD click here to find your nearest therapist and book your free initial consultation.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.
Please note: As hypnotherapists we never diagnose issues, we simply help you alleviate the issue as you present it to us. For a definitive diagnosis we advise you speak to your GP or other suitable qualified medical professional.