If you live in England like me, you will be experiencing cooler temperatures as we go from Autumn into winter. The days get shorter and the sun seems to disappear for what seems like forever, and as pretty as the snowfall can be, a lot of people experience what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Although most people do get a bit dismal during the winter months, SAD is an actual mental disorder that can mimic the exact symptoms and behaviours that other Anxiety Disorders and Depression do.
Being South African, where the sun shines most of the time, even in the winter, and now living in the UK, I can say I have definitely noticed how the season change dramatically alters. We go into a daylight savings mode, which we never did in Africa and in the peak of winter, it gets dark by 3:30pm. So it is quite clear to see that SAD would be more common in countries like the UK.
What causes SAD?
What are the symptoms of SAD?
I think I may have SAD, what should I do?
There are a few things that you can do to cope with SAD.
Shedding light on vitamin D
Vitamin D is made by our bodies when our skin absorbs sunlight. Contrary to all the hype about the sun and skin cancer, every living thing needs a bit of sunlight to survive. We should be getting 20 minutes in the sunshine everyday in order for us to have adequate vitamin D. The winter months concern me because in England, where I live, the sunlight is significantly reduced and as an anxiety sufferer, vitamin D is a vital component for the proper absorption of calcium and magnesium - two very important anti stress minerals.
Getting enough Vitamin D in the winter months
Even if it is sunny outside on a winters day, no one wants to spend time outdoors as it's just too cold, so how do we make sure we are getting enough vitamin D during the cold months? Although it is important to remember that the sun is the optimal choice for maximum vitamin D absorption, we still have a couple of catch nets to help us get by in the winter:
Hopefully by being armed with information, we can all get through the winter months with a bit more ease. Remember that's it's okay to have bad days and it's even more okay to talk about what you are feeling. Keep in mind that there are many support help lines who will always lend an ear to whoever needs them.