Monday, 23 September 2013

Beating SAD 2013

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(Disclaimer: I’m not in any way an expert in diet, exercise, mental health or health in general.  All my advice on SAD is based on my own experience of it and on information I’ve picked up on the way.  If you believe you’re suffering from SAD or any other health condition your first port of call should be with your doctor to rule out the possibility underlying illness.)

If you’re part of the 27% of people in the UK who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every year I want you to know that you don’t have to live in fear of Winter.  By making simple, easy changes to your lifestyle you can help yourself through the darker months.  Over the next week I’m going to write about ways I’ve found help me to combat SAD and which are also good for you all year round.

I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been experiencing SAD as it crept up on me slowly, one Winter at a time, but it was Winter 2011 that things got bad enough for me to realise I had a problem.  That Winter was a particularly bad one; I could hardly sleep, my energy level plummeted fast, I felt cold all the time and the only time I really left the house was to drag myself to work.  I ate badly, gained weight,  was tearful and introverted and life looked empty and hopeless.  After what seemed a decade Winter ended and I found I could sleep again, get things done as usual and I felt like ‘me’ again.  Looking back I could see how different my behavior had been since about October and I realised I couldn’t let that happen again if I could possibly help it.  I found out more about SAD and about how it could be eased by using a light box, eating with more care, planning ahead and making other small changes.  When Winter 2012 came around I still dreaded it and it was still hard, but nowhere near as bad; I was tired and my mood wasn't great but still able to function and get on with my everyday life.

Starting I’ll be covering:
  • Light boxes
  • Planning ahead
  • Food
  • Fitness
  • Caring for yourself

·         I’ll include things that have worked for me so far and, as time goes on, I’ll try to include new things as and when I try them out.

If you get that sinking feeling when you think of Winter remember you’re not alone, there’s lots of advice and support out there and you can help yourself to have a smoother ride in Winter 2013.

To repeat my disclaimer at the start of this post, I have no expertise in health, these are all just things that I’ve tried myself.  If you think you have SAD please go to your doctor to rule out any underlying illness so you know you're treating the right thing

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