Why does winter make you feel sad?
By Olivia Walford, Administrator at The Eaves
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that becomes worse during the colder, darker months of winter. SAD is thought to affect around 3 in 100 people in the UK. The cause is not entirely understood, although it is thought to be linked to a lack of sunlight during winter, which can affect hormone production.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Many people experience the ‘winter blues’, but if low mood is starting to affect your daily life, you may have SAD. The symptoms and treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder are similar to any other type of depression, although you might find that you only need additional support during winter. The warning signs to look out for are:
- Feeling tired often, no matter how much sleep you get
- Being snappy and irritable
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Feeling lonely, hopeless or guilty
- Experiencing a change in appetite
Treatments for SAD
There are lots of things that you can do if you are experiencing seasonal changes in your mood.
- Light therapy. You can use a special lamp called a lightbox that simulates the experience of sitting in the sun. This can help to alleviate some of the tiredness and sadness that you might experience.
- Mindfulness. Practising mindfulness can be beneficial for any type of low mood, including SAD. The Eaves has some helpful tips about how to practise mindfulness in your life.
- Lifestyle changes. Increasing your exposure to natural sunlight can lessen the symptoms of SAD. Even if it’s not sunny, there is research that suggests spending time outdoors can improve your mental health.
- Talking therapies. Counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help with your low mood. They can provide you with coping mechanisms to use in difficult times and help you to understand your mental health.
- Medication. For severe cases of SAD, medication like antidepressants might help. Talk to your GP to find the right option for you.
At The Eaves, we have practitioners who can help you if you are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. Our professionals provide talking therapy to individuals of all ages, families, couples and young people 12 hours a day Monday to Saturday 9am to 9pm. Please call 01483 917000 to speak to a member of the referrals team. You can also send us an enquiry via our website.