Beating the Winter Blues


It's thought the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), affects around 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million people across northern Europe.  It can affect people of any age, including children.

Key Symptoms:

  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • lethargy
  • overeating
  • irritability
  • feeling down and unsociable

Here are 10 tips that could help.

Keep active - Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.

Get outside - Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days.  Inside your home, choose pale colours to reflect light from outside, and sit near windows when you can.

Keep warm - It's also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.

Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food.  Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C.

Eat healthily - A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter.  Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

See the light - Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. Try sitting in front of a light box for up to two hours a day.  Light boxes give out very bright light at least 10x stronger than ordinary lighting.

Take up a new hobby - Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of SAD.

See your friends and family - It's been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. 

Talk it through - Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms.

Join a support group - Think about joining a support group.  Sharing your experience with others who know what it's like to have SAD is very therapeutic and can make symptoms more bearable.

Seek help - If your symptoms are so bad you can't live a normal life, see your GP for medical help.

To read the full article please click on the link

Source:  NHS Choices

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