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Seasonal Affective Disorder: FOUR ways to soften the impact of SAD this winter

Seasonal affective disorder symptoms explained

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SAD tends to crop up as the days shorten, which starts in mid-September. Days will continue to get dark earlier until late December, by the solstice of the 21st. Contracting days may have an adverse effect on some people’s mental wellbeing, although doctors aren’t entirely certain as to why.

Health professionals still have recommendations on how to fight it, and has compiled some expert advice.

David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform Remente, offered up his expertise.

He said SAD has links to seasonal changes and “exposure to sunlight”, which disrupts mood and sleep-regulating chemicals serotonin and melatonin.

Mr Brudö offered five steps SAD sufferers can take if their experience is not quite severe enough to warrant medical intervention.

Keep a journal

Mr Brudo recommended people with SAD should try to understand where they have an “imbalance” in their lives.

Journalling, he said, helps people work out where the problem lies and take active steps to solve it.

The practice also serves as “an outlet for processing emotions” that helps raise self-awareness if used every day.


Exercising during autumn and winter is no easy feat, as the seasons will lash out with wind, rain and chilly temperatures.

But those who have trouble during the seasons may want to consider brief spells of exercise while it is still light, as it can help them work off stress and raise their mood.

Regular exercise will improve sleep quality, general health and raise endorphins.

Go outside

People who struggle with their mental health may find it difficult to go outside, especially while Covid remains ever-present in the UK.

But even a brief, gentle walk will raise spirits and help people get a dose of vitamin D, which acts as a mood stabiliser.

According to Mr Brudo, people should consider walking to work or joining an outdoor exercise group.

And if they can’t get out, they should try and flood their home with natural light by keeping their blinds and windows open.

Sleep well

Mr Brudo also recommends people with SAD consider their sleep hygiene.

Poor sleeping habits such as going to bed in the early morning, or lacking sleep in general, can set people off-kilter, making them feel more stressed, anxious and less productive.

Adults should keep to a sleep and waking schedule, ensuring they get at least seven to eight hours of rest a night.

Anyone struggling with the effects of SAD can contact a doctor for advice.

The NHS website explains: “You should consider seeing a GP if you think you might have SAD and you’re struggling to cope.

“The GP can carry out an assessment to check your mental health.

“They may ask you about your mood, lifestyle, eating habits and sleeping patterns, plus any seasonal changes in your thoughts and behaviour.”

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