09 Dec ARE YOU SAD…
Have you found yourself being a little more tired recently? Perhaps you are feeling more hungry than usual? These could be symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, and it is thought to be caused by a lack of daylight. It usually starts as the days become shorter in autumn and continues through until the end of winter.
Symptoms of SAD
Lacking in energy
Feeling tired even after a good nights sleep
Feeling less social, not wanting to go out
Sadness and light depression for no real reason
Increased appetite, cravings for carbs and/or sugar
Having problems with sleeping
Having difficulty concentrating
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
How to help:
The good news is that chocolate is on the list (and I’m putting it first). Lets not go mad and start inhaling the stuff but you can definitely add some (more) in. It is full of antioxidants and capable of delivering the endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that your brain needs to regulate your mood. However, before you do an online order for galaxy caramel, not all chocolate is equal. Sadly, the processing of cacao to create most high street chocolate actually removes the healthy compounds and they have additives that completely counteract what we are trying to do here. So steer clear of those and opt for dark chocolate, my favourite brand is seed and bean!
It is like music to my ears… filled with protein and packed with serotonin boosting monounsaturated fats, avocados are great when it comes to supporting a good mood. They’re also a great natural source of B vitamins which help keep our bodies ticking over. Add into a smoothie, have them on toast, sneak them into chocolate mousse or simply just add them to salads… easy!
With blackberries in season now in the UK it is a great way to try and incorporate some of them into your diet. Berries are a great source of antioxidants. Studies have shown that a steady supply of antioxidants can help lower levels of depression. They are also are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. Add some to smoothies, sprinkle some on your yoghurt or even just munch on them as a snack.
Fatty fish – salmon/mackerel/tuna
The fatty acids found in these types of fish have brain-boosting properties. They are a good source of vitamin D, protein, some B vitamins and selenium. Try and add in at least three portions a week to your diet.
Apart from the above foods, be mindful that starchy white carbohydrates are completely lacking in nutrients and will also drain your body of energy. Add in as many colourful fruits and vegetables to your diet and drink plenty of water.
Other things that help:
Try out a new yoga class, go for a run in the park, anything to keep your body moving.
Take some time for yourself, have a long bath, maybe try going to meditation or a candle light yoga class.
Light therapy is exposure to light that is brighter than indoor light. It is used to help treat SAD (it can also help with jet lag and sleep disorders). It works by replacing the lost sunlight exposure and resets the body’s internal clock. You can buy light boxes and programme them to come on when you wake up. If you feel like you are really suffering from SAD it could be a good addition, but for more information it is best to visit your GP and talk to them about it.
I hope that this has been helpful.