Mood disorders are a group of illnesses that have as their distinguishing characteristic an experience of mood that is unusual for the circumstances. It is a very common cause of behavioral pattern in human beings.Heading into winter, the days are only due to get shorter and colder. This can potentially have a significant effect on individual’s mental health and mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a well-documented phenomenon which occurs in conjunction with changes in season. SAD is considered a sub-type of depression, and as such, symptoms of SAD closely mimic those of depression. Even without reaching the full criteria for SAD, most people experience changes in their energy, motivation, sleeping patterns and mood as the seasons change.

For some people, lower vitamin D levels that are more likely to occur in northern winters may contribute to the risk for depressive symptoms.These people may benefit from more vitamin D in their daily diet vitamin D supplementation.

Common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Irritability
  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Sleeping difficulties, including oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal ideation or thoughts of death
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Losing interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Easily feeling agitated
  • Feeling sluggish, tiredness or low energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulties concentrating

Simple tips to stay on top of your mood during the winter months:

  • Ensure you get at least one hour of outdoor light each day (preferably in the morning).
  • Make your environment brighter :When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.
  • Eat smarter: Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy and carbohydrates provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Make an effort to keep up your social life.
  • Make sure you keep active with continuing exercise.
  • Turn on the tunes: In a study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.
  • Plan a vacation: Longing for sunnier days at the beach? Research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
  • Eat more of the good stuff: Lean Proteins, Omega-3 Fatty acids, Berries, dark chocolate, bananas and supplements of Folic Acid, Vit B12, Vit D
  • Meditate Daily
  • Get your Chakras/ Energy Centers balanced by trying a Reiki Session
  • Practice yoga 2-3 times a week.

Whilst maintaining these things can take considerably more effort than during the warmer months, they can easily be achieved with some simple planning.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Ensuring you have adequate heating in your environment, appropriate clothing and plans for activities can help to get you moving. A conscious effort to ensure that these basic things continue to occur even when the weather is more conducive to staying rugged up inside can help to significantly minimize depressive symptoms, increase energy levels and lift mood.

SAD or any of the symptoms associated with it, can be effectively treatment with positive thinking, staying active especially outdoors, energy/chakra balance via reiki and eating the right foods to uplift your moods.

If you find you are struggling to stay on top of things, have low mood or decreased motivation you can contact me at [email protected] me to arrange for a Reiki appointment or try a ‘Restore Yoga’ or ‘Meditation’ Class.