As we approach the darkest part of the year, it’s pretty common for your energy to dip a little and to feel a little down and depressed. Although the energy of Christmas tries to keep us out and about to all hours of the night, it can be a struggle to fight against the lure of your warm bed. Commuting to and from work can mean stretches of days at a time where you don’t see the sun.
While all of us feel some sort of a slump, and comments about hibernation are commonplace, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can cause severe depressive symptoms. People who experience SAD liken it to a bout of major depression, wreaking havoc with their mood, motivation and relationships. SAD is characterised by feelings of depression, guilt, irritability, low energy and apathy. Sufferers also experience changes in appetite such as intense carbohydrate cravings and sleep changes. SAD typically peaks in January and February – the darkest and coldest months.
If you’re experiencing a lowered mood in the winter months there are many things you can do which will help. Getting as much exposure to natural light as you can will make some difference, but the levels of light are often not enough to combat the issue so artificial supplementation using specific broad-spectrum lights is advised. Doctors also recommend taking vitamin D to help ward off the winter blues.
Making sure that you keep active and connected to your support system is essential for mental health all year around; although it’s more difficult over winter when it’s cold and dark you’ll notice your mood improves when you make the effort to connect with friends and loved ones.
For those that find it a little more challenging to pull themselves out of the depressive funk that SAD causes, hypnotherapy can help. Often a change of perspective can help us snap out of depressive and unhelpful thought patterns. The NHS recommends talking therapies to help treat anxieties, stress and depression. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has over 2,000 qualified therapists across the UK who can provide effective treatment for anxiety, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. By targeting negative and unhelpful thinking patterns and learning skills around resilience depression can start to lift and life can feel better again.
The NCH says that after sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. They report that many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily.
Click here to access the NCH directory to find a qualified and insured therapist near you.