You may be thinking we’ve gone mad, but we haven’t. How can you feel happy when in fact you feel sad? We all put on a brave face sometimes when we aren’t feeling too good, but we’re not talking of the emotion sadness but rather S.A.D, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What is S.A.D? It is described as a type of depression that recurs on a seasonal basis, often beginning and ending at the same time each year and usually over Autumn and Winter. For some, it doesn’t affect them too badly while for others, it can have a real impact on their everyday life.
However, just because you suffer from S.A.D does not mean you suffer from depression, it is simply a sub-type of major depression. The primary difference between depression and S.A.D is the seasonal aspect, because depression can occur all year round whereas sufferers of S.A.D will only be affected for certain parts of the year. Plus, it is generally agreed upon within the medical profession that real depression is often more severe and debilitating.
That does not mean though that S.A.D is not real, does not affect the sufferer and does not require treatment. There are a number of things you can do to take action in order to limit or reduce the effects of S.A.D on you or those suffering around you.
As with anything, if you feel you need treatment, you can always seek the help of a medical professional who may feel you need personal therapy, reiki, light therapy or anti-depressants. Your GP will recommend the best course of action. However, there are some things you can try on your own:
- Get outside and try and get as much natural sunlight as possible. Even just a lunchtime walk can be beneficial.
- Make your home and work environments as light and airy as possible.
- When indoors, try to be near windows, even better if they are open.
- Try and eat a healthy balanced diet as sugar and caffeine crashes will not help your low mood whereas healthy food will.
- Take time out for a little self-care – go for a walk, do a yoga class or have a warm and comforting bath.
- Take up a new hobby, activity or even try creative therapy.
It’s really important not to suffer in silence and if you find yourself struggling then try talking to friends and family about it so they can also understand why your mood has changed. Not only will it relieve some of the burden from you, but this will also allow them to more effectively support you whilst things are a little tough.