Seasonal depression/seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D is type of depression that effects millions of people each year. It generally kicks in as Autumn/Winter appears, the hours of daylight decrease and the weather gets colder, and can last until Spring or event longer if you live in a country such as the UK!
The other week the clocks went back and Summer has well and truly gone so many of us may be experiencing the Winter blues. We experience long periods of miserable weather in the UK (sigh) and it's really important to be mindful of how this can effect you and the things you can do to stop S.A.D taking hold. Do you feel fatigued, moody, irritable, anxious, depressed....think you might suffer with seasonal depression? Here are some tips to get you through -
1. Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D, which is also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a really important vitamin to make sure you're getting enough of. Unfortunately the can only naturally absorb vitamin D from the sun which means in the dark Winter months it's impossible to get your daily dose, so supplementing is vital. A vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression, many forms of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and bone loss.
2. Get Daily Exercise
Moving your body every day really improves your mood and reduces anxiety and stress, which both contribute to depression. You don't have to do an intense HIIT session or go to the gym every day but make sure you move your body in some way, that could be a brisk walk, half an hour of yoga or having a boogey with your friends! I found when I incorporated exercise into my daily routine my mood was instantly lifted.
3. Go Outside Anyway
Just because the sun may not be shining it's still important to get outside daily (just make sure you're wrapped up warm!). Even the tiniest amount of fresh air and sunlight can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels - serious happiness hormones. There's also a huge link between being within nature and happiness, which I wrote a blog post on here, so try and go to a local park or somewhere with greenery.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Don't miss your minimum 8 hours sleep every night and try to make sure you're all tucked up before 11pm. Many restorative functions occur when we're getting our 40 winks, including muscle growth, cell & tissue repair and protein synthesis. Skimping on how many hours of sleep you're getting also has a negative effect on the brain; you'll feel tired, sluggish and negative. Here are some top tops on getting a good nights sleep - link.
5. Eat Healthy Foods
Rubbish foods make us feel rubbish, physically and mentally so while it might be tempted to reach for the cakes, the cookies, the hot chocolate and the white toast it won't make you feel good long-term. Sugar, trans fats, processed carbs and artificial ingredients all contribute to depression so protecting your beautiful brain with wholesome, nourishing foods is really important. Opt for warming vegetable stews with brown rice, healthy lentil shepherds pie, big bowls of porridge and curries instead!
6. Up Your Omega-3
Omega-3 helps maintain healthy levels of the brain chemicals that make you feel good, increase happiness and reduce symptoms of depression. Plant-based sources are really easy to find too, try eating walnuts, flaxseed and hemp seeds. If you eat fish wild salmon is a good choice.
By incorporating these simple but effective tips into your daily routine you're bound to feel brighter, even if it's dreary outside!