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Dealing with SAD

It's that time of year again, where the clocks go back and we embark upon the month of perpetual darkness. Having enjoyed this extended period of unseasonably warm and sunny weather throughout October I know that the black gloom of SAD is going to hit people a lot harder this year than most. Having suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder or "SAD" in the past I know just how it feels when this kind of winter depression strikes due to a lack of sunlight. That's right people, this is actually "a thing," a certified medically tested "thing" where chemical imbalances in the brain occur due to a lack of the natural vitamins found in sunlight. This can seriously f**k up your Melatonin levels causing energy slumps, your Serotonin levels causing low moods and anxiety plus it REAAAAALLLLY plays havoc with your body's internal clock leading to interrupted sleep. So if you're feeling any of this stuff then this may be what you are suffering from and you are not alone!
Happily I've found various coping measures over the past few years which enable me to cope quite well with the departure of summer and these days I find myself actually enjoying autumn and looking forward to those cold dark nights. To those of you who have never suffered with this sort of thing I can appreciate that it can be hard to get your head around but even though you yourself may never suffer from SAD you might perhaps identify the signs that a loved one needs help this winter. Some people swear by the little light boxes you can buy which mimic sunlight, others turn to medication but I've found the best ways are to look after yourself, both your mind and your body

Here are my Top Tips for surviving Seasonal Affective Disorder this year and any other year

Pamper Yourself

If you feel sad or depressed or anxious try to find some ways to help yourself relax. Sometimes we just have the worst days imaginable where every single thing goes wrong and it feels like the weight of the world is literally crushing your soul. Personally, on those days I like nothing more than a good soak in a hot bath with a fancy bathbomb and an even fancier mug of hot chocolate - Y'know the type marshmallows, sprinkles, cream (basically a heart attack in a mug) You could put on your favourite film or settle down with a good book, all snug in your favourite cosy PJs. Got a bit of spare cash? Treat yourself to that top you've been coveting or get yourself a posh facemask to smother yourself in when it all gets a bit much. I'm a big believer in treating and pampering yourself when you've had a hard day. Sometimes that little pick-me-up can be the difference between going to bed and lying awake all night feeling stressed and anxious or letting go of a bad day and waking up refreshed and ready to try again

Remember the Good Stuff

Ok, so the sun is gone. But there are still plenty of great things about winter. I used to dread those dark and cold nights, dreaming miserably about the late night beach BBQs of the summer months. These days I can't wait for darkness to descend so I can snuggle under a blanket and light all my favourite candles, making my living room all cosy - the adult equivalent of building a den. Salads are nice but you can't beat a big warm slow-cooked stew or a big bowl of apple pie. I ADORE winter clothes too, treating myself to a new coat (or 5) and  layering up on snuggly jumpers and scarves. Baking is a great way to kill a rainy day and Pinterest has some great DIY craft projects to keep your mind occupied in a positive way instead of fretting about imagined problems. There are so many lovely things about winter if you look at it from a positive mindset, we only have so many years of our lives and we can't just go around only enjoying 50% of each precious one

Go Outside

I know, I know. This is THE LAST thing you want to do when you're feeling all "meh" but honestly getting outside and doing something active will make you feel at least 67% better. I'm not a great believer in the whole "exercise releases endorphin's" line of reasoning because I loathe and detest most forms of physical exertion but NOT sitting at home grouching around in your PJs will improve your mood. Wrapping up for a nice walk on the beach with friends is a good plan or heading out on a bike ride, I did this at the weekend after a week long illness and it made me feel so much better to be out of the house. You could even just wrap yourself up nice and warm and head off alone for some thinking space. Either way that tiny bit of "Get-up-and-go" required to get out of the house will ultimately help your physical and mental state

Make a List

Sometimes the problem is that it feels like your head is going to explode due to overthinking, anxiety, stress and worrying. This can in turn lead to insomnia which makes the whole SAD issue seem a lot worse. I always find that getting a pen and paper out and just scribbling down every single thing which is making me stressed as it pops into my head allows me to create a clear space in there for some rational thinking. Sure your piece of paper might look like some post-modern expressionist art piece but you can then go through each and every note to assess what can be easily dealt with and what may require a little more help. I mean how are you supposed to function with all this stuff whizzing around in there like that tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz? Ok, so I've scribbled down the words "family" and "guilt" - I'll go visit them tomorrow, sorted! I've written "The ever depleting O-zone layer" hmmm that one may require some more dedicated thoughts, we'll put global warming anxiety in a separate column for the moment 

Talk to Someone

Ahhh, the "Biggy." Asking for help. This is a tricky one because it can feel really scary to admit that you aren't feeling 100% super duper happy like the rest of the world is portraying itself to be. I'm not even going to get started on the whole social media issue, I just subscribe the whole "Don't compare your reality to someone else's Highlight Reel" school of thought. Realistically human beings are complicated entities, each one of us is different, each one of us has various triggers and traits and issues. Having done my research for this article I was surprised by how many people I came across suffering with depression, stress and anxiety. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear so many of them talking positively about the way in which they feel the subjects are become less and less "taboo." Ok, so there is still some stigma BUT there is LESS Stigma. It doesn't have to be a big scary doctor. Try talking to someone you trust about how you feel a friend, a family member perhaps? You can even talk to me, sometimes it helps to gain an impartial view and my email address is at the bottom of this post

Image Source: Google

I've also found that having a "code-word" can help. Choosing a word which signals to friends or family that you're having a tough day or are going through a rough patch without actually having to sit down and discuss the intricacies of it all can help those around you give you the space and/or support you need when you're having "one of those days". I use the word "Meh," mostly because that sound most accurately sums up I'm feeling a bit sad/moody/tired/anxious "I'm feeling a bit Meh" translates as "Handle with care, give me my space and for gods sake will someone please make me a hot chocolate with marshmallows and sprinkles"

I really hope this post helps. If I manage to make just one person feel a teensy tiny bit better today then it will have been worth it because Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, you aren't just going crazy. You aren't the only one and this isn't it for you for life

Always happy to listen:


  1. This is an awesome list of advice. Depression/anxiety can be difficult for anyone for a lot of reasons, thank you for sharing <3


    1. No problem Ashley, we're so lucky that mental health issues are gradually becoming less demonized. I'm glad you lked the post



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