Thursday, December 15, 2011

S.A.D. - Seasonal Effective Disorder

Winter time! It’s the time of year to snuggle down in front of a fire with a hot drink and a good book, while outside the days get shorter and it becomes darker much earlier. 

However, for some people, these dark days bring on a serious mood change known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

Winter Blues
These “winter blues” isn’t just a feeling of being down in the dumps, in fact it’s a pretty serious condition and action should be taken if you see these signs:
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning or difficult staying awake during the day.
  • Over-eating, especially carbohydrates and sweet foods.
  • Feeling anxious or having negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Withdrawing from social activities.
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks.
  • Even a loss of libido.
Avoid SAD
Our brains contain a chemical called serotonin, a ‘happy’ hormone which uses a type of protein to help it travel around the brain. Research shows that during the dark winter months more of this protein is produced and absorbs the serotonin instead of sending it around the brain. This is how seasonal affective disorder is caused and it affects more than two million people in Britain alone.

Since most of us can’t splash out on a trip to the tropics for Christmas, here are a few pointers to avoid being SAD at home during those gloomy winter months:
  • Taking the supplement vitamin D. Research shows that a low level of vitamin D in the bloodstream makes people vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder.
  • Make the most of the light in your home! Pull back the curtains and roll up your roller blinds and let the sunshine through. It also helps to sit close to the windows while your roller blinds are up to ensure you absorb as much sunshine as possible. 
  • Try to the find time to get outside and take a walk or any physical activity.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Learn some techniques to help you relax like taking a warm bath or listening to music
  • Decorate your house with light coloured fittings or furniture and especially more bright lighting.
  • Join a support group or talk to friends and family about the condition. They’ll be there to give you support and listen to you if you find you are struggling with the condition.
  • Talk to your doctor about the different treatments available for SAD. They may recommend medication like antidepressants or else advise you about light therapy. Light Therapy is believed to affect the chemicals and hormones in your brain and lift your mood. It is made up of a specially made light box which can be bought or hired and comes in different sizes.
As you can see there are so many ways to avoid being SAD. It is important to remember that you are not alone in this condition and there is help out there when you need it. Leaving you more time to snuggle up with your slippers and hot water bottle and enjoy the festivities that the winter months bring!

This post was written by James Harper for Creatively Different Blinds who supply fantastic custom roller blinds. James write on subject that relate to the home and family.