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It is safe to say that winter is here! We are officially in the fourth quarter. The final countdown of 2020. I feel like this year has flown by faster than usual. And it is definitely a year to remember.
Due to the pandemic, anxiety and stress have risen for many causing many more people to make use of mental health services. (source)
In England, as of 5 November 2020, we have gone into the second lockdown. Although, this lockdown is a lot less strict than the first one; we are allowed to go outside as many times as possible for exercise. However, due to the weather, some may choose not to. Which, in turn, may have a detrimental impact on our wellbeing.
Although the end of the year symbolizes the festive season, for some it may be the worst time of year.
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With temperatures dropping, the hours of sunlight becoming shorter and the weather changing, this may impact our wellbeing.
About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during the winter season.
Symptoms include low mood, feelings of guilt and despair, lack of energy, loss of pleasure and sleeping for longer than normal. For some, symptoms may be severe interrupting daily activities. (source)
This is caused by multiple factors such as lower production of serotonin which is a hormone that affects your mood.
During the winter months, the lack of sunlight could cause lower serotonin production, which is linked to feelings of depression.
Besides, individuals may be predisposed to SAD due to genetics and a family history of depression.
Here are a few things you can do if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder:
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- Speak with a therapist. Talking therapies are also an effective way of combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Speak to your doctor. Doctors may recommend antidepressant medication such as SSRIs depending on the severity of symptoms.
- Get as much exposure to natural sunlight as possible. As the days are shorter, it may be worth waking up a little earlier to get access to as much sun as possible
- Maintain a balanced diet. You want to make sure you have a balanced diet to obtain all your vitamins necessary for maintenance and growth.
- Keep moving. Exercise can help you manage your stress levels so it would be ideal for taking part in some form of physical activity each day.
The Importance of Self-Care
Aside from treatment, it is essential to focus on your self-care. Run a bath, meditate, write in a journal, find a healthy way of offloading.
Over this year, I have developed a self-care routine. My routine consists of eating balanced meals, meditation, exercising, including yoga and reading.
Please find what you enjoy and do try to include it in your routine.
If you are working during this time, during your breaks, try to disconnect from work and take our mind off it by doing something unrelated such as watching a tv show.
Opening Up to Others about Your Seasonal Affective Disorder
I know it is difficult opening up to others regarding your problems, but by speaking up, you may, in turn, be helping others by helping yourself!
Please keep in mind that these times are overwhelming for many, so please be kind to others and take care of yourself.
I wish you all the best for the end of this year and for the upcoming year. The best is yet to come.
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