No one knows for sure what actually causes Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) although there seems to be a link between a lack of sunlight as it is most common in the Autumn and winter months and also in those countries that are deprived of long day light hours.
A deficiency of vitamin D is also indicated, which we synthesize from sunlight.
Common symptoms of S.A.D can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor concentration
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Impaired immune function (increasing the risk of picking up colds and viruses.)
So how can we protect ourselves from the symptoms of S.A.D and keep our body functioning at it’s best? The following list provides some useful tips, however if symptoms persist please consider seeking professional help:
- Spend as much time outside in the daylight as possible
- Practice good sleep hygiene (Make sure the bedroom is completely dark, minimize noise, keep the room warm but not too hot or cold, ensure the bedroom isn’t used for any other activities such as working.)
- Eat well. Avoid processed foods and try to increase your intake of foods with vitamin B12.
- Practice good stress management techniques.
- Be mindful of the thoughts you are having and keep a diary of how your thoughts are impacting your feelings, then look for alternatives to those thoughts.
- Avoid alcohol.
There are many therapies out there which can help you to manage the symptoms of S.A.D including Cognitive behavioural therapy, light therapy and drug therapy.