It is dark. Most days darkness is accompanied by wind and rain. There are a few hours of daylight and you only see it from the window of your office. It's dark again when you open the door to go home. That's winter in Great Britain.
In fact, it's estimated that 1 in 15 people in the UK is affected by a mood disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It most commonly starts between ages 18-30 and symptoms of it can be anything from sleep problems to fatigue and from depression to overeating. Symptoms can appear as early as in September and last until April.
It is thought that decreased amount of sunlight plays havoc with your body clock causing you to feel tired or to have disrupted sleep. Also, drop in serotonin levels will affect your mood making you feel more irritable and low.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to reduce symptoms of SAD naturally.
It's important to make sure that you get a lamp which is meant for bright light therapy. Preferably your lamp should emit 10000 lux. By using a correct bright light therapy lamp treatment time needed could be as little as 15-20 minutes per day.
For SAD sufferers exercise outdoors in the daylight is highly beneficial. However, any exercise can be useful as it makes your brain to release endorphins "the feel-good chemicals".
For lack of energy: citrus oils such as lemon and bergamot
For sleeping problems: sedative oils such as lavender and ylang-ylang
For mild depression and anxiety: clary sage and jasmine
You can use essential oils in a diffuser, enjoy an aromatherapy bath or pamper yourself by visiting a massage therapist for an aromatherapy massage.
Writing down your thoughts can aid to clear your mind and to help put things into perspective. It's a bit like a talking therapy, but the listener is you.
Acupuncture and Reflexology
These treatments can help to reduce anxiety, aid you to sleep better and to
make you feel more balanced. They have an effect on your endocrine system and by increasing the release of serotonin and dopamine they can boost your mood.
Do you suffer from SAD? What is an effective way for you to beat the "winter blues"?