Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that crops up in the colder, darker months – in other words, the winter blues.
Sometimes it’s caused by the pressure that comes with this time of year making pre-existing problems worse. Sometimes it’s because trouble doesn’t follow a schedule. That’s why it’s especially important that we look after ourselves – and look after each other – at this time. Here are our top tips for doing just that.
- Stay warm. Taking care of basic things like your own personal safety and comfort, whether that means making yourself a nice warm drink or putting on a couple of jumpers, can make a big difference. Skint Dad has some timeless tips for keeping toasty over at skintdad.co.uk/keep-warm-for-less-coldest-night.
- Eat healthily. In the cold winter months it’s as important as ever to get enough nutrients. Vegetable stews and soups are a cheap and easy way to get your five-a-day and they taste really good too.
- Find time to process. Especially at this time of year, it can be easy for your mind to get overwhelmed with thoughts, so it’s really important to find time to organise them. You could go for a walk, visit your local church, or plot out some time in your diary for a ‘me meeting’ (so if anyone tries to plan anything you can just say ‘I’ve got a meeting!’).
- Read a book you love or something that will inspire you. Reading relaxes you in a short time, gives you new ideas and allows you to empathise with people and feel less alone. Plus, it needn’t cost you a penny – find your nearest library at findmylibrary.co.uk.
- Start making moves towards doing something new. From starting a new hobby, to giving something up, to getting a new job, victories of any size can give your confidence a big boost.
- Socialise. Loneliness has been found to be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! This time of year is always a good excuse to reconnect with the people. Why not pay someone a visit or simply pick up the phone? They might be missing you too.
- Lend a hand to the people you love or volunteer with a charity and help complete strangers. Helping people, even in seemingly little ways, can help you feel needed and give you hope with whatever you may be going through yourself. See gov.uk/government/get-involved/take-part/volunteer for ideas to get you started.
- Finally, remember that we all make mistakes sometimes. Often it’s no one’s fault. Even so, the guilt you feel can cripple your ability to do anything else but worry about it. Finding forgiveness, even from yourself, could help you move forwards.
If you feel you’re suffering with depression and need help, speak to someone – you can call Samaritans free of charge on 116 123.
If it’s money worries and debt on your mind, call Christians Against Poverty (CAP) on 0800 328 0006 (free of charge). CAP also provides help for people who are unemployed, struggling with addiction and living on a low income. See capuk.org for more information.
Sponsored Article by Riaan Van Wyk