So here we are amid the dark mornings, dark evenings and generally grim weather. If you’re anything like me by November you barely see the light of day and end up going to work in the dark and coming home in it. To make matters worse your desk is the furthest from a window you could possibly imagine and you can’t pop out on a lunch for fear of being soaked to the skin. So you progressively sink further and further into the deep depths of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), away from the light and the happy self you once were in the summer months.
Thousands of people throughout the UK suffer from SAD which leaves you with low mood, no energy, feeling tired and miserable all of the time, struggling to get up and craving carbohydrate rich foods. Depending upon the severity of your suffering you may be tearful, agitated or just generally withdrawn. So why do we get it and what can you do?
We get it because the shorter days and reduction in hours of natural daylight affect the functioning of the part of our brain responsible for generating melatonin, seratonin and our internal body clock i.e. the bits affecting our sleep, appetite and mood.
So when battling SAD it goes without saying that it is really important to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, diet and routine. It helps to take regular exercise and eat healthily. Even a 20 minute walk a day can make all of the difference, especially if you can make it during the day such as on your lunchtime as you’ll be absorbing some of that light your body hugely craves.
Suffers of SAD are often recommended natural supplements such as Vitamin D. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight, so in the winter months our levels are depleted. I was lucky enough to be sent a tub of Essential Female Multi Vitamins and a bottle of Liquid Vitamin D by Viridian Nutrition who are an ethical supplements company catering for all of your health needs.
The Liquid Vitamin D comes in a little glass bottle which has a twist off pipet for ease in dropping the liquid into your mouth or drinks. There is no stipulation on the bottle as to how or when this should be taken, so I personally took 5ml before bed by dropping the fluid directly onto my tongue. It has a sweet orange flavour so is not unpleasant, but if you prefer to drop it into a glass of water and drink then you can do so.
The Essential Female Multi come in tablet form of around 3cm in size. They have quite a distinct herbal smell and I personally did find them quite difficult to swallow. You are supposed to take two daily and again I chose to take mine before bed. The tablets contain iron and Vitamin B6 which reduce tiredness, support cognitive functioning, regulate hormonal functioning and the formation of red blood cells in the immune system.
Whilst of course there is no such thing as an instant cure for anything, I did feel much better after taking both products pretty much straight away. I felt more alert and ready for the day, less heavy headed and generally brighter and more alive.
If like me, you do struggle with getting much light into your day in the autumn and winter months then alongside a Vitamin D supplement you may also want to consider investing in a SAD Lamp. SAD Lamps can be bought for as little as £30 and are available from most high street pharmaceutical stores. Amazon has a really wide range of products covering all budgets, plus you can see reviews from other customers which is really helpful when deciding which one to go for.
I personally have a SAD lamp that I use for 30 minutes in a morning whilst I am getting ready. Whilst the light is fairly bright at first, after around 5 minutes you do get used to it and barely notice its there. Since I am one of those people who has a south facing garden and my bedroom at the back of the house, my bedroom is usually very light and so I really struggle in the darker months. For me a SAD lamp really does make all the difference.
I have recently been eyeing up alarm clock SAD lamps. Once you set your preferred times they imitate the sunrise and sunset, gradually getting brighter in the mornings just before you get up and darkening in the evenings before bed. An effective way of simulating your daily light cycle on those darker days.
If you struggle with SAD how to you combat it? Share your tips below.
Jessica KG ♡
*These two supplements were gifted to me by Viridian Nutrition.
Please note that I am not a medical professional, so if you are struggling with SAD please seek advice from your GP. This post is simply my own experience.