Friday, 29 January 2016

Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

I have been suffering with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)  for a few years now. I can generally feel it descending once the clocks go back. I have less energy, my mood is low and EVERYTHING becomes more of an effort. I feel tired most of the time and I find that I need to have a quick nap when I get home from work. My brain turns to mush and I have to write everything down otherwise I just forget (which has got me into a pickle at work once or twice).  I am good at making plans because I write them down but actioning them unless there is a specific urgency does not happen. Most of the time I feel like I am on auto-pilot doing the day to day things and emotionally I feel cut off.  I can feel the difference in myself once the clocks go forward and it feels like a huge weight has been taken off me.

Once it was recognised I looked into how to cope with it and minimise the symptoms. The first thing I invested in was the light therapy with a lamp and an alarm clock that turned on a light before the alarm went off so I wasn’t waking up in the dark. I found that although it was easier to get up but during the day it didn’t help as my desk was in a really dark corner.

When I changed jobs I was in a room that let in loads of light and I did find that it wasn’t as bad. Unfortunately as it was only a temporary contract then that wasn’t a long term option. In my current role, my first couple of years involved sitting nowhere near a window and the artificial light was rubbish and I really struggled. Luckily I spoke to my boss and when we moved offices last year I was able to make sure that I am sat near a window.

This year hasn’t need as bad as I have done other things to help. I am taking a Vitamin D supplement and a friend recommended 5HTP tablets which increase the production of serotonin which helps with sleep and depression. I have tried to eat better and not rely as much on refined sugar to give me energy.  I am also trying not to be too harsh on myself when I don’t get as much done as I was hoping off my to do list. I try to tackle at least one task a day even if it only takes a couple of minutes, at least something is getting done. I am hoping doing the 52 week challenge will keep me on track.

Exercise is also recommended but I admit it is hard to get motivated to exercise at the best of times so I cannot comment on whether this helps or not.

The main difference for me this year has been to take time out to do something I enjoy as this has been the first winter where I have been going to craft/ quilting club. I look forward to Monday evenings as I have to go out and in the past I have always found excuses in the past about not doing crafting at home.

S.A.D can make winter a tough time for people who suffer from it. I hope some of the things I do may help you.

Let me know anything you have tried that helps you cope with S.A.D.