The clocks have gone back and we’re stepping into the new season so it’s time to consider our mental wellbeing and how to protect it in the months to come.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, affects 1 in 3 Brits – and this year, Doctors are expecting this figure to rise. “I think we, as a society, need to be more mindful of our mental wellbeing this year; we’ve been through an incredibly trying period,” says DrLauren Hamilton, GP and cosmetic doctor at Victor & Garth.
From vitamin supplements to exercising at home, Dr Miriam Adebibe and Dr Lauren Hamilton, share their 7 top tips to beat the winter blues.
Science of SAD – What exactly is SAD?
“Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by depressive symptoms that occur at a specific time of year,” explains Dr Miriam, “typically this happens in autumn and winter and resolves once the season changes
to spring or summer.”
“Possible risk factors include family history, female sex, living at a more northern latitude and age (young adults being more susceptible),” adds Dr Lauren.
Science of SAD – 7 expert tips to tackle SAD
Light therapy: This is a very effective way to alleviate the symptoms of SAD – and patients undergoing this treatment often see an improvement within one to two weeks.
Exercise: If you can’t face going to the gym, try an online class. The endorphins released will really set you up for the day and you’ll notice as the stress hormones reduce, your anxiety will wane.
Talk to someone: Whether it’s a friend of a healthcare professional, hearing your thoughts out loud can be cathartic. There should be no shame in seeking advice.
Take a moment: It’s important to pause and listen to our mind and body every now and again before we reach burnout. Practising daily meditation is a great way to reconnect with the mind and body.
Vitamins: Most people in the UK are vitamin D deficient and thus, we should all be supplementing. At least 40% of us are also deficient in vitamin B21. Not only does vitamin B benefit the body, but it also increases mood, energy, metabolism and anxiety.
Sleep: Consistently high levels of cortisol can cause SAD to develop. Sleep is key here as when we are asleep, the body’s cortisol levels drop which allows the body to regenerate. Try to develop a good night-time ritual to encourage shut eye.
Stress: Look to reduce stress levels as it goes without saying that stress can have a major impact on your mental health.