November is officially here which means it’s time to start playing Christmas songs and getting into the holiday spirit. But why is this season considered so wonderful when so many dread the effects of seasonal depression during these cold months?
Virginia Mealor, a therapeutic counsellor, sat down to talk with Kindred. about SAD and ways to try and combat it.
“Seasonal affective disorder is also known as major depressive disorder and it happens in the autumn and winter months, it tends to happen to women and young people more.” Mealor explained
SAD symptoms include: “A persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, feeling irritable, feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, low self-esteem, feeling stressed or anxious, a reduced sex drive and being less sociable.”
However there is no need to spare, Kindred. has gathered the best tips on how you can help nourish your soul during these winter months.
Self-care doesn’t only have to be on Sundays- it can be every day. We all have busy lives but dedicating just one hour a day to doing something you absolutely love is essential. It could be upping your skin-care routine (face masks, face roller, scrubbing etc), baking a cake, taking a dance class, or enhancing a skill you wish to improve. Invest your time in self-care. As there is only one you, therefore you need to prioritise your mental health first and foremost.
Also, get acquainted with light therapy as advised by Virginia: “Light therapy is a way to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.” This consists of getting exposure to daylight or some equivalent form of light as a treatment.
She adds that having a good structure and routine helps with symptoms of SAD. Virginia reiterates that we shouldn’t self-diagnose ourselves with having SAD. The lack of light and the cold weather take a toll on most people, but it does not necessarily mean you have it. Visit your local GP and get an actual diagnosis.
You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym or go running as days get shorter. However, you can easily enjoy a yoga class at home with a scented candle on, one suggestion is to add lavender oil into the diffuser after a long and stressful day. Going for a walk is also another way of not only keeping active but also enjoying the seasonal changes in your neighbourhood environment. Notice the trees, the colours, and the rustic smell of the woods and pines. Breathe in the little details when going for a stroll. Nature is the best healer for everything, studies reveal that exercising outside can heighten self-esteem, improve mood and lower stress levels. Put on your coats, hats, and gloves. Get ready, make it trendy, make it comfy and step outside.
Treat yourself- indulge in some comfort food
This is what Christmas and winter is all about – eating and drinking without feeling any guilt. Just picture yourself on the sofa with your favourite drink in hand, a snack, the heater on, with the comfiest blanket whilst watching your favourite tv series, reading a book, or simply listening to your favourite tunes. This is the perfect definition of cosying up during the winter period.
We know it is cold and all you want to do is curl up in bed, but socialising is a great way to beat winter hibernation. Start hosting girls or mates nights in. Or simply curl up with your bestie and enjoy re-watching Harry Potter for the 100th time. We can’t emphasize it enough: socialise.
Care about yourself and care about others
We cannot reiterate enough how much putting a smile on someone else’s face can put a smile on your own. Volunteering is not only a well of happiness for those who receive the help, but also for those helping. Get yourself to a soup kitchen and serve those in need. Put a smile on a child’s face by giving gifts through a charity. Doing good makes us feel good.
These suggestions will not necessarily cure seasonal affective disorder but could help ease symptoms and get you through these cold months. One final piece of advice is to make sure to always seek out help if needed, whether that be in a friend or a professional.
Be sure to leave any more suggestions in the comment section below!