Now that the days are beginning to draw in and the nights are growing colder, bowls of comfort food, log fires and snuggling under the blanket with a good book start to look ever more tempting.
Yet, while this paints a cosy picture, for some of us, the winter and autumn months can be debilitating. More and more, people are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (the NHS estimates that about 1 in 15 of us are sufferers), and will feel increasingly isolated and blue during the next few months.
While you should always seek advice and support from a doctor if you suffer from persistently low moods (or, in fact, any of the symptoms below), there is still plenty you can do to uplift during the winter. Despite those grey skies and the never-ending rain, we can all get a happiness boost – it’s just knowing how! Read on for our top tips on dealing with SAD…
What is SAD?
As we’ve mentioned, SAD can hit some of us especially hard, and it can even be debilitating. It’s a type of depression, although it differs from other conditions because it comes and goes with the seasons. Many call it “winter depression” because it tends to be at its worst during the darker, greyer days.
It’s not quite fully understood, although SAD is thought to be caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight. When we don’t get enough sun, it can affect our brains, especially the sleepy hormone melatonin, as well as our body’s internal body clocks and the production of our happy hormone, serotonin.
Symptoms can vary, but they typically include low moods or irritability. You could also find yourself craving carbs and gaining weight, or maybe you feel lethargic and tired, and want to sleep for days and days. At its worst, some sufferers may even have feelings of despair, guilt or worthlessness, and lose interest in things that would normally bring.
Many of us will have experienced it, too, or perhaps thought of it as the ‘January Blues’. Once the gloss and shine of the festive season fade away, the last few months of winter can seem to stretch on endlessly, leaving us feeling sluggish, tired and even lower in moods.
Of course, SAD can be a serious condition, and we can’t stress enough that you should always chat things through with a doctor. However, with a little know-how, we can all stay positive throughout the winter months!
How Can We Stay Upbeat Through Winter?
When you wake to grey, dreary skies, it’s not always easy to feel positive. However, we can stay upbeat during the next few months – just follow these simple tips!
Add a Little Light to beat S.A.D.
Even when we’re not experiencing glorious, natural sunlight, we can all have a little light in our lives! It’s worth your while investing in a light lamp, which is proven to help ease symptoms of SAD. The idea is that these lights mimic beautiful, natural sunshine, and give us all that much-needed warmth on a winter’s day!
You can find many SAD-friendly lamps online (just be sure to find one that is proven to help with SAD), or you could try a Lumie Bodyclock light. These body clock lights allow us to wake up to beautiful, soft daylight, and a slowly brightening sunrise to help you wake feeling properly refreshed.
Get outside in Winter
Although you may want to do nothing more than bury your head beneath a duvet and hibernate, aim to get outside – every day! Maybe you could try a spot of gardening, or perhaps take a walk with friends. It could simply mean avoiding the car on the morning commute and taking a stroll instead. Even in the heart of winter, spending more time outdoors can help us to make the most of that glorious daylight!
Vitamin D to beat winter blues
It’s thought that a lack of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, can also trigger winter blues. Although no one knows why, some scientists believe that vitamin D affects happy chemicals, including serotonin, and how they work in the brain. For this reason, try taking a good-quality vitamin D supplement (ideally a combined supplement with quality skin care) over the next few months. Vitamin D has the added bonus of working wonders on the skin – it can help with acne, boost elasticity and collagen production, and ease the appearance of lines and dark spots.
Omega-3 to boost your brain
Another fantastic brain-boosting supplement to take this winter is our pioneering omega-3 capsules, Aliol. There has been a lot of research to suggest that SAD may be linked to an omega-fatty acid deficiency because it affects our brain from functioning properly. The DHA found in our Aliol supplement contributes to normal brain function and the maintenance of normal vision. Meanwhile, EPA has long been associated with reducing inflammation and supporting the benefits of DHA.
Aliol – Omega 3 for Vegans
Our Aliol product also comes with the added benefit of being suitable for everyone! If you are allergic to fish oils or enjoy a vegan diet, then the good news is that Aliol is completely free from fish oils. It has been created from algae, the amazing food that gives fish its incredibly high omega 3 content. Taking Aliol means that you are getting this wonder benefit directly without having to harvest fish.