S.A.D.? Now the clock’s have been taken back one hour. Many people encounter feelings of depression. Other people say they experience sensations of separation or loneliness. Strangely, the various disorders begin within days of losing daylight time.
Here is an explanation of the symptoms:
Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
S.A.D. is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.
Symptoms of S.A.D. can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than expected and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities. It is thought that the effect of less daylight contributes to this illness.
While this article does not replace taking advise from your doctor or health professional. It does offer suggestions which can help lower the effects of the issue.
Formulate a time table for each day and stick to it.
Rise and go to bed earlier:
One very successful method is to rise an hour earlier. Do not waste the hour. Prepare the evening meal. Load the washing machine and switch on the wash cycle before leaving home. Tidy your home. Do not make excuses! It is possible to work in silence, so as not to disturb others who are still asleep.
Tidy your home: Yes, already mentioned, but essential. Researchers recognise keeping one’s home environment tidy and clean has beneficial effects on mental health. And as S.A.D. is seen by many health professionals as a form of depression, it is worth considering this aspect of self-help.
Make sure your bed linen is washed each week. Clean, fresh linen helps with sleep. If you like lavender: use a lavender-scented conditioner in the final wash. Also, consider using a good quality lavender incense, candle or lavender oil to fragrance the bedroom with this well-known sleep enhancer. Deep and beneficial sleep is the objective: if you feel you do not want to get up in the morning or feel weary during the day: the probability is, your sleep is only superficial.
Falling Asleep During The Day?
Bathe or shower every day. And during the washing ritual, consider only calm and happy memories. One thought to consider while bathing is bright, warm and sunny days. The Japanese know the benefits of bathing rituals. Do not underestimate the potential of this advise. A relaxing bath ( or foot bath ) in Dead Sea Salts can work miracles!
Wear clean and fresh bright coloured clothes. Grey, black and drab clothing could affect mental wellbeing. Mix up your clothing colours: do not worry about the way other people think about the bright and vibrant dress. Many colour therapists know yellow, orange, lime green, and sky blue colours have a powerful and uplifting effect. And turquoise is recognised as the master colour for helping with depression. Keep a record of how you feel while wearing different clothes, and you’ll be surprised how colour affects wellbeing.
Don’t drink too much alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is a depressant and makes the world seem better while in the blood. But once the effect has worn off the vision of the world returns to reality. Never think you do not have a hangover! Your body is excellent at covering up negatives effects of alcohol. Smokers understand this: when one begins to smoke, the results are sickness, headache and dizziness: within a week, the negative feelings are covered by the mind and body. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant; it also deprives the user of deep and restful sleep. Incidentally, there is new research which suggests many over-weight people have a high intake of caffeine. What! Don’t you believe me? Look up caffeine and weight gain on the internet.
Sorry, no excuses. For many people being overweight causes depression. ( again an internet search will reveal tens of articles confirming this statement ) and as we tend to exercise less in the winter months, the kilos can soon add up. Keep your eye’s on the scales and exercise for at least ten minutes each day. Ten minutes? Yes! Even ten minutes of brisk exercise can make a difference in health.
Take care when reading or listening to the media:
The news has never been so horrific. And with the dark evenings, you can bet: people will become more affected by the present situation: this is a severe aspect or mental health and should not be dismissed. It is difficult, but try not to watch or listen to too much rhetoric. Have an opinion and live with your choice. Try to think: I’ll make myself fit and healthy: Rather than: If I become infected I could die. No apologies here: It is your physical and mental wellbeing with really matters. How can you help people if you’re weak and unhealthy? So think clearly: and do not be influenced by the media. Be charmed by the need for wellbeing.
You can please yourself if you watch downbeat and horrific storyline films etc. But you’ll be influenced by depressing drama. Yes! Indulge in escapism: but choose your theatre with care. Try watching travel and nature documentary rather than insightful horror. There is no suggestion of hiding from reality: but, for the time being, choose positive and beneficial documentary in preference to doom and gloom.
Music is a potent conduit of relaxation. If the piece is relaxing, it will bring calm and peace. Health professionals consider S.A.D. as a form of depression. And many phycologists recognise the benefit of listening to relaxing music. Heavy metal has its place in the music library: and so does Bach’s Four Seasons!
There are many companies which offer S.A.D. Therapy lights. But there are other cheaper alternatives. It is easy to buy daylight bulbs which fit into standard light fittings. You are warned: when daylight bulbs or strip lights are first included, the emitted light seems harsh and too bright. However, within two days, your eyes and mind become accustomed to the ‘correct’ light temperature. Try the daylight bulbs in one room, call it your daylight therapy room. Another alternative is to have the leading light, a daylight light source and have this switched on for an hour or so: and then use smaller lights to give an ambient effect later in the evening.
Guests to our home comment on how relaxing it is: and how calm they feel. Only one person has acknowledged every room is painted wall to ceiling in a light turquoise blue paint: the curtains are either blue or green. And the door frames have slightly different colours for each room: it is the doorframes which give each room its ambience. We have two rooms with main daylight lighting: the bathroom and the main bedroom. Of course, 99% of people will say: ‘How boring! I couldn’t live in a home like that!’ and that’s fine. Our home is decorated using the findings of Max Luscher and Theo Gimbel, both leaders in colour psychology and therapy. And the consistent comment of ‘This home is so relaxing’ seem to suggest our colour scheme affects.
I hope you find the article interesting and worthy of further research. We are in difficult times and health professions the world over are preparing for a significant rise in cases of depression and its related illnesses and outcomes. Do not be surprised if you hear friends say they are feeling unhappy and unsettled. Psychologists acknowledge feelings of uncertainty are sometimes the seeds of anxiety and anxiety can be the beginnings of long-lasting issues.
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I feel that SAD reflects past life experiences in our DNA of the challenging times that winter brings.