5 Alternative Seasonal Affective Disorder Tips
For a country that revels in berating its weather, it is easy to dismiss the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Nonetheless, this is indeed a medical affliction. According to BUPA, those aged between 18 and 30 have a greater propensity of being affected by this disorder; moreover women are unfortunately more vulnerable to it. Growing literature on how to combat SAD offers a repetitive list of ways to banish the blues; however receiving a fresh perspective might be the motivation you require to survive the start of 2014.
Although using artificial lighting and seeking medical help is always recommended, other less well known cures exist to increase one’s serotonin levels. Here we examine alternative tips to combat SAD, from going fishing to braving the elusive 6am rays.
The eternally therapeutic Yoga
Focusing on regulating your breathing is essential, especially when you’re affected by highly oscillating mood swings that turn you into a yo-yo. The benefits of undertaking yoga have been prevalent for years, and those who suffer from SAD require a healthy circulation to ensure their body remains feeling fresh and active. Moreover, attending a yoga class has the natural advantage of a. leaving your humble abode and getting that much needed burst of fresh air, and b. meeting new people in a time when you aren’t feeling inclined to be social. Yoga does not require previous experience, nor do you need to exceptionally agile, merely a willingness to follow the lead of an instructor who for the record will be outrageously fit and flexible!
The temptation to carb load is present all-day, every day. However, during the wintry months this temptation grows exponentially. Staying in doors eating a large packet of cookies becomes a far more viable option and thus leads to the unnecessary consumption of sugars. This in turn has an overly worsening affect on those who experience SAD. Instead try your hand at baking. Whilst sweet treats are usually what we choose to bake first, baking bread and savoury dishes is equally an adventure. Try baking with fruits, especially lemon to combat the urges of endless bowls of pasta! Not strictly within the realms of baking but crepes with fresh fruit or pancakes with berry compotes are an excellent way to indulge yourself, as opposed to mindlessly gorging on comfort food. The smell and sights of freshly baked goods is usually thoroughly welcomes by our senses, and nothing says success quite like your very own homemade treat.
Another way of dealing with SAD is simply to occupy your mind and time. A seemingly obvious suggestion, as many of you will already know from experience, this is easier said than done. Fishing is one of those hobbies we envision our uncles undertaking, but perhaps it is time to experience this leisure pursuit for ourselves. Picture a different setting…one of tranquillity and wintry sunshine. Fishing offers a peace of mind, even if the net result is you catching a nondescript fish and then releasing it back into the waters. It would be ideal to go with someone else as fishing is prone to being a solitary activity and those with SAD would probably benefit from greater level of social interaction. If fishing does not feel like your calling, explore other activities that at first don’t seem to be for you.
Get a puppy
Our reluctance to brave the outdoors is greatly mitigated when we have a companion very eager to drag us outside at any given opportunity. Getting a puppy is naturally not for everyone. Allergies, work commitments or simply a dislike of canines might put you off. However, if you are on the fence about this one give it a cheeky consideration. Dogs are universally acknowledged as being one of the most playful and loyal companions. Those affected by SAD would benefit from the presence of a pup in multiple ways. In winter sunlight is greatly rationed and limited to the first few hours after dawn. The thought of rising at 6am is wholly horrifying; however an eager puppy may be just the thing to propel you from under your covers!
Learn a language
It doesn’t require in-depth research to suggest occupying the mind and directing it away from baseless worry will be beneficial. Learning a language is usually a skill we dispense when we leave school, but it isn’t too late to reclaim it. Our brain is a complex mechanism and needs constant stimulation, those who suffer from SAD are exceptionally prone to greater periods of inactivity. This is further exacerbated by the increased production of melatonin due to the predominantly darker days, which consequently makes you feel sleepier. We managed to have a chat with Omar El-Gohary, the head chemist at Britain’s leading online medical retailer ChemistDirect, and this is what he had to say, “A way to combat this is to introduce your brain to a fresh challenge that will engage it and thus not allow it to switch off!” Whether you’ve been meaning to brush up on your rusty French or have travel plans on the horizon which might require you to familiarise yourself with the local language, the incentives for learning a new language continue to be advantageous.
**By Prerna Prasad