I am not a SAD sufferer but I know others who are. So, what is SAD? Seasonal Affected Disorder is a recognised mental health disorder that affects people during particular season and is most frequently felt during the cold winter months. It can be really debilitating for some.
I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice, but I hope I can give you some coping techniques if you are suffering from SAD. These are tips I’ve picked up while trying to help others and ones that I’ve used myself when suffering from stress and depression. At the end of this post I will list places in the UK where you can seek professional help if you are not coping. Please don’t suffer alone, and don’t think you are the only one. There is help available and you can feel better.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder
You may feel some or all of these symptoms. If you do then please seek some help to make you feel better. You are never alone!
- lack of energy, wanting to sleep a lot, or not being able to sleep at all
- Not Being able to concentrate
- Feeling ill all the time, like you are catching every bug going
- Feeling negative all the time, sad, lonely, guilty, hopeless
- Changes in appetite, not wanting to eat or snacking constantly
- Not being able to sleep properly
- Wanting to spend more time alone without anyone around
- suicidal feelings
- Other feelings that come with depression.
This list is not extensive but you may recognise something in yourself.
Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affected Disorder
These are some tips that I’ve picked up. They may help you feel better but if the SAD feelings continue please seek medical intervention.
- Light therapy. As a lot of people suffer SAD in the winter season it could very well be linked to the lack of light in the daytime. You can make your days brighter with special lighting.
- Getting as much daylight as possible is good for you, so make sure you don’t start sleeping the day away, and when you can, spend some time outside in the daylight. Wrap up warm and go for a walk.
- Exercise if you can. A lot of people find that exercise helps a lot, whether it’s yoga, running or something else, just a little each day can help a lot.
- Talk about it. You’ll be surprised at how many people will understand how you feel and it can be a help to share your worries.
- Plan ahead for those times that you know are going to be worse. Make meals in advance and freeze them so you know you have something when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Keep a diary and write down how you feel. Writing can be very cathartic.
There is a lot more help available from the sources listed below.
Do Children Get SAD?
Children can definitely get depressed and it may very well be seasonal. Especially for a child who spends a lot of time playing out during the summer months. The cold, dark winter months can feel like a hard slog to get through.
You can watch out for the signs of depression in your child which are similar to those mentioned above. If you are worried about them then talk to them. Just let them know that whatever they are feeling they can always turn to you. Listen to their worries no matter how trivial they may seem. To them it’s not so trivial and it can be life changing. Keeping the communication going is vital during these times.
Children may be able to get help from school too. If you are worried about your child’s mental health, do speak to their school and see if there is anything they can do. My girl’s school have a great mental health team which is available if needed.
These Worrying Times
Things are particularly difficult at the moment. There is so much to worry about and everyone’s life is being disrupted thanks to the COVID pandemic. Whether it’s money, jobs or schools it all adds to the extra stress of coping with shorter days and not being with family and friends.
I’m going to list some helpful sites now. But I also hope that you don’t need them. If you ever want anyone to talk to then please feel free to seek me out on Social Media or even e-mail. Let’s get through this together.