Winter is coming. Besides looking forward to the festive season and enjoying the weather, taking care of your mental health is also important. Do you feel like sometimes you are a bit low in mood, tired or sleepy? Have you heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
During autumn and winter, with shorter exposure to sunlight, it is common that people experience seasonal affective disorder (or winter blues). According to the NHS, you may:
- Feel tired
- Have a persistent low mood
- Feel stressed or anxious
- Have a lack of energy
- Lose interest in normal everyday activities
- FInd it difficult to concentrate
- Sleep for longer than normal and find it hard to get up
What can you do to help ease the problem? There are some suggestions…
1. Try to expose yourself to sunlight as much as possible
The most straightforward way is to get yourself outside and stay under the sun. Get outside as much as you can – if it’s a sunny day, why not go out to the park and enjoy the sun? Don’t keep yourself indoors as this will just make it worse. If you can’t go out, open your blinds so that you can let the sunlight in.
2. Keep your sleep schedule and a healthy lifestyle
You may find it difficult to wake up in the mornings or have trouble sleeping at night. You may want to lay in your bed but maintaining regular sleep can help you to improve your sleep quality and therefore improve your overall feelings.
3. Get moving and eat well
During days like these, you will probably have a lower motivation to exercise and cook. People tend to become less active and go for unhealthy foods. Exercise, especially outdoor exercise, can help you ease depression. For food, it’s always a good idea to have a balanced diet, so try to avoid alcohol and fast foods. Click here for the Eatwell Guide.
4. Take vitamin D supplements
With the lack of exposure to sunlight, vitamin D deficiency may be one of the factors which causes the symptoms. In addition to getting vitamin D from meals, supplements could also be a good idea.
5. See a GP or mental health expert when needed
Finally, if you feel like it’s affecting your daily life too much or you can’t handle it by yourself, please seek professional support.
Remember, taking care of your physical and mental health is equally important!
See you next week.