Does your mood changed with the seasons?

Traditionally, many cultures located in northern climes celebrate a festival of lights in the middle of the winter, on or around the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. Echoes of this tradition are seen in our modern use of festive lights to mark and celebrate the Christmas season. In a way, this emphasis on the importance of light, when the days are short and the nights long and dark, bears testimony to the importance of light and sunshine to our well-being. The joy we feel when we walk down a beautifully illuminated street on a dark December evening springs from our instinctive need for light.

A long, hard winter can be tough for anyone, but some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which means that they show symptoms of depression during a particular season – usually the winter – despite being fine the rest of the year. SAD was first isolated as a psychological condition in its own right in the 1980s. Unsurprisingly, rates of SAD are higher in northern countries than southern or tropical ones.

A real case of the winter blues

If you have SAD, you’ll find the list of symptoms very familiar. You may be tired all the time, have little energy when you are awake, and feel depressed. You might tend to overeat, to find socialising stressful, and to be pessimistic. Your libido and sense of self-esteem may be negatively impacted. You only start to feel better when spring arrives and the days get longer.

Feeling better all year round

Dealing with SAD can be hard, but fortunately there are treatments that can make a very big difference. One treatment involves using artificial light sources that mimic the impact of the natural light of the sun on the brain. A very simple approach that can make a really big difference involves making an effort to be out of doors and involved in physical exercise during the daytime as much as possible during the winter months, especially when there is little cloud cover.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is another very successful way to treat and manage the symptoms of SAD as well as other forms of depression. By engaging with your therapist to understand the triggers to your “winter blues” more clearly, you can develop a new set of behaviours and reactions that are more positive and that help you to be as happy as you can, at any time of the year.

If you would like to talk to someone about SAD, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 81507563 or book online by clicking below:

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