Do you ever feel low and lethargic during the winter months? You’re not alone. In the UK, 1 in 15 people suffer from a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Even if this is not diagnosed, most people report feeling less motivated and positive as the weather gets colder.
SAD is not inevitable. Keep reading to discover more about the condition and what steps you can take to avoid it arising this winter.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression. Unlike other forms of depression, though, it doesn’t last all year. Instead, it comes and goes according to the seasons, peaking in winter when the days are much darker and colder.
The symptoms of SAD are the same as depression: low mood, feelings of despair, fatigue, irritability, and the loss of pleasure in hobbies and activities. For people with SAD, these symptoms worsen during the winter and may ease or disappear completely in the summer.
Even if you aren’t clinically diagnosed with depression, you may notice similar patterns in your own life. Do the winter months leave you feeling tired and lacking motivation? If so, then you may have a mild form of SAD.
Fortunately, these feelings aren’t inevitable. There’s a reason that the winter gets you down. But you have the power to take the actions that will improve your mood and help you avoid developing SAD.
Below, discover the top three ways you can avoid seasonal depression. This will help you power through the coldest months, ready to enjoy the welcome release of spring.
Stay Active and Eat Well
If you work on just two aspects of your life this winter, make sure you focus on diet and exercise. Getting these right can help you maintain a positive mood, no matter what you’re going through. Exercise, in particular, seems to be effective at preventing SAD.
Staying active means moving your body, which releases endorphins and offers a sharp energy boost. That helps you feel happier while overcoming the fatigue that often accompanies seasonal depression. If you can’t manage a hard workout, a 10-minute walk can work wonders.
Furthermore, exercise gets you out of the house and into the fresh air. It’s easy to stay inside during winter, but this just lowers your vitamin D intake. Instead, try to exercise during daylight hours to enjoy the positive health benefits of the great outdoors.
Nutrition is always important, but it’s crucial during winter. The right food will help you stay alert during the day, enable restful sleep at night, and boost your immune system so you can avoid seasonal colds and flu.
As soon as you start to feel low, ask yourself two questions: have you exercised recently, and what have you been eating? Get to work on these two areas before anything else to help offset the negative effects of winter.
SAD commonly leads to feelings of despair and worthlessness. This can eventually lead to you questioning whether life is worth living at all. It’s important to combat these thoughts early, replacing negative ones with something positive.
One way to do this is by practicing gratitude. As hard as the winter can feel sometimes, there’s a lot to be grateful for. Perhaps you’re thankful that you have a warm bed to sleep in and that you can afford to heat your home. There are many in the world without these simple pleasures.
Maybe you’re thankful that you can be surrounded by families during the holidays, or you’re grateful for being able to watch unlimited Christmas TV. Whatever it is, write it down in a gratitude journal.
This can help fight back the negative thoughts that may arise during this time. Work on your mindset by meditating on all the reasons you have to be positive. Make this a daily practice so you can maintain a level head throughout the winter.
SAD will do everything it can to put you in a low mood. You need to build consistent habits to act against this. Even in the most difficult times, seek those moments that bring you security and pleasure. Focus your attention there.
Take the Right Supplements
Exercise, healthy eating, and practicing gratitude are some of the most effective ways to prevent SAD. However, they’re not always easy, especially when feeling low. If you’re looking for something more achievable, then consider supplements.
When you’re not getting enough sunlight, your brain lacks the vitamins it needs, especially vitamin D. This contributes to the low mood you feel during the winter. If you remember to take your vitamin D tablets each morning, then you can overcome this problem.
If you’re struggling with anxiety during the winter, then you can also find vitamins to help with this. Specifically, consider taking more B and C vitamins. These have been shown to naturally raise energy levels when you need them while also helping you achieve a higher quality of sleep.
For a complete mix of SAD-busting vitamins, try Cognifuel. This is packed with all the nutrition you need to live a calm and happy life. Coming in the form of a tasty drink, it’s incredibly easy to consume, which is crucial when you’re low on motivation.
Although SAD is not fully understood, we have a pretty good idea of why it happens. The way to overcome it is to simply live a healthier lifestyle. Like all forms of depression, the symptoms of SAD can be avoided through exercise, healthy eating, and practicing gratitude and meditation.
However, these can be hard to achieve as your motivation levels dip. To get back to yourself quickly, increase your vitamin intake. Supplements can help replenish the vitamins lost during this time and ensure that you don’t slip into depression during winter.