What is SAD? Do you suffer in the winter?

I have realised over the years SAD definitely effects me. I started to notice this as I turned 30 and became aware it was actually a condition. Some of the symptoms are: not being able to wake up, feeling low and anxious, lacking energy, changing eating habits and gaining weight.

The exact cause of SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown. Some factors that we know are linked are:

Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight (especially in England) may cause the onset of SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects the mood, might play a role too. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that also may trigger feeling down or depressed.

Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt our bodies balance of melatonin, which plays a part in sleep patterns and mood.

Ways that I have found to help:

Waking up in the morning. During the summer months I spring out of bed and I am generally going for a run around 6:30-7am, I feel alive and full of energy. Come early October this becomes a struggle. I now have a light box that comes on next to my bed (this shines blue light). There are many on the market, I have a small square one that sits on my bedside table. I must say I now couldn’t live without this and certainly wouldn’t be able to get up and exercise which I know would lead to feeling mentally worse for the day ahead.

Feeling down and tired through the day. When you suffer with SAD, you can feel low, tired and depressed throughout the day. I find using uplifting and balancing oils great. Peppermint rubbed on the back on the neck for tiredness is amazing for an uplift in the afternoon to boost energy. Or dropping Lemon Essential Oil for a refreshing drink. In the office diffuser we use clary sage, geranium, rose and frankincense to keep us feeling positive. I also carry our Doterra Forgive roller for those times when we feel a little low. I roll this on my pulse points to give me strength when I feel I need it through the day. Our Doterra Motivate oil is also a great go to. I use this first thing on a morning when dragging myself out of bed to motivate me to exercise.

Get out into the fresh air and sunlight. This of course is the hardest one to follow. We often go to work or school in the dark and come home in the dark. So trying to get out is so hard. On those sunny winters days you must make the effort, at the weekends, on your day off or even in your lunch hour… try and push yourself to go and walk in the sunshine. It really does help! Just the fresh air and exercise will give you a boost I promise!

What I do know is the further you let things slide, not exercising, turning to bad food and alcohol and letting things overwhelm you definitely doesn’t help. It becomes a downward spiral. So stay positive. Invest in a blue light, stock up on essential oils, push yourself to still go to the gym, get out in the fresh air and eat and drink healthily! For those of you who suffer, I feel your pain and your worry about stepping into these next dark winter months, but come on we can get through, those spring mornings will be here before we know it!