Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder also known as SAD for short is something at this time of year many people suffer from. The symptoms can vary from one person to another but generally there is a feeling of being under the weather, unmotivated, depressed, fed-up, exhausted, lethargic, increased/suppressed appetite, weight-gain, irritability, increased desire to stay in bed or in the house and so on. This time of the year as the seasons change and the winter comes in with the cold, wet and dark evenings the symptoms increase due to lack of sunlight.

Many people due to their hectic lifestyles get little or no daylight at all sometimes for days on end, this is not good and can trigger the low moods. People often binge or crave the stimulants like alcohol, sugar, caffeine to help make them feel better. Unfortunately all of these stimulants have negative impacts on your mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, ability to exercise etc. These in themselves are highly addictive substances and contribute greatly to the whole vicious circle. Often the reason behind seasonal affective disorder is an imbalance in neurotransmitters like melatonin / serotonin /dopamine etc. Your adrenal glands also play a very important role too as do hormones like cortisol, adrenaline etc People can have an imbalance in these chemical messengers any time of the year, with the imbalance being much more noticeable with the change in seasons. During the winter months the pineal gland in the brain produces much more melatonin which can make you feel sleepy.

If you are someone who is easily affected by the weather, do your best to understand the seasons. Winter is essential for us to hibernate to a degree, to rest our bodies, to keep warm and sheltered, like spring is essential to produce new shoots, new bulbs and so on to ensure we have a good harvest in the summer and autumn. It may be necessary for you to change your lifestyle a little, e,g at the weekend make it a policy to get out in the fresh air and daylight, wrap up well and enjoy the experience.  I know it may feel like the last thing you want to do but get as much daylight as you possible can.

It is an easy painless test to get checked for neurotransmitter levels. Many times I have to get my clients who are in need of a boost to look at a special light to increase energy production and cellular activity. Surround yourself as much as possible with positive people who support you, praise you and encourage you. Good food choices are oily fish, flax seed, green & root vegetables, turkey, chicken, beans, wheatgerm, protein foods. Keep starchy carbs, sugars alcohol and other stimulants to a minimum. A good diet is crucial for someone suffering from SAD. Supplementation with Vitamin D, E, C, B-vitamins, Zinc, magnesium, and selenium may also be very important, the nutritional deficiencies differ for each individual but these are a general guide.