Avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder

Get away from  Seasonal Affective Disorder during the wintertime

When it comes to describing and talking about wintertime diseases, what we instantly picture is an image of the flu, cold, bed and tea. If you come from a tropical country as I do, these are the most common health problems related to this charming and romantic season in the year. Paracetamol, bed and lots of tea are enough to get over it. However, Seasonal Affective Disorder can be worse, and more dangerous. SAD is more than a simple feeling, is also a disease related to the weather. SAD is a type of depression.

The acronym stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Health Service Executive (HSE), SAD can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. SAD can be winter and autumn’s worst battle.

Long nights can also make it more difficult to face the cold weather. The good news is that after the winter solstice in December, the days are slowly getting brighter and starting to get longer again.

It is not so difficult to link the dark days to a mood disorder that can progress to depression, especially for people from the tropics. There is nothing like a sunny day! The AWARE website states that “depression is a very common condition which affects 1 in 10 people at any one time, 450,000 people in Ireland alone (2018). Anyone of us, irrespective of age, gender or background can be affected”. It is important to have an early diagnostic and start the treatment as soon as possible.

Be aware of the symptoms and find support if you need it. The main symptoms are:

  • a persistent low mood;
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities;
  • feeling irritable;
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness;
  • low self-esteem;
  • feeling stressed or anxious;
  • a reduced sex drive;
  • becoming less sociable;
  • be less active than normal;
  • feel lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day.

Basic treatment that you can do for yourself, however, consult a GP if you feel really sad:

  • get as much natural sunlight as possible – even a brief lunchtime walk can be beneficial;
  • make your work and home environments as light and airy as possible;
  • sit near windows when you’re indoors;
  • take plenty of regular exercises, particularly outdoors and in daylight;
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet;
  • avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress.

Have you any experience with SAD? Leave your thoughts in the comments and share with friends the best ideas and new or alternative treatments that are worth a try. To beat the winter blues stay warm and positive, as all the tropical people usually are and don’t forget to put a smile on your face!

Fernanda Martins
Fernanda Martins

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