Seasonal Affective Disorder: Beating winter blues
The shortest day is nearly upon us, and the chilly, dark days can take their toll on our mental health. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can vary in severity, and if you’re really struggling to function it’s important to see your GP. But if you tend to find yourself just feeling a bit flat at this time of year, following these simple wellbeing tips might give you the boost you need.
Perform a random act of kindness
Research has shown that performing acts of kindness can help build your happiness and wellbeing – a great way to beat the winter blues. And at this time of year, when the haze of Christmas can leave lonely or vulnerable people out in the cold, a little human warmth could turn someone’s day around.
Eat your omegas
A good diet is not only important for keeping your body healthy, but your mind too. Studies show that people who eat omega 3-rich foods, such as oily fish and nuts, are less prone to depression in winter. Plenty of fresh fruit and veg will help too!
It might sound obvious, but not letting yourself get too cold is important if you’re prone to feeling down in the winter. Layers of clothing, a warm house and hot drinks should do the trick – but avoid drinking too much caffeine, as this could affect your sleep and make you feel worse.
Top up your vitamin D
Are you getting enough vitamin D? Vitamin D comes from sunlight, which means in the winter it’s hard to produce enough. Insufficient levels can lead to fatigue, aches and pains and generally feeling unwell. Public Health England has advised Brits to consider taking vitamin D supplements in winter. Speak to your pharmacist for advice.
Invest in a daylight lamp
Lamps that emulate daylight can be an effective way of reducing the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Light boxes also come in the form of alarm clocks that wake you gradually by emitting gentle sounds and simulating daybreak.
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