If you experience low mood and drops in energy levels at a particular time of the year, you could be one of the 33% of people in the UK affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It happens in all seasons but more often when the trees have shed their leaves, the autumn sunshine softens and we start to prepare for the not-so-inevitable snow. As with most of the species with whom we share this planet, we are wired to sense and adjust to the seasonal patterns of our natural habitats.
Unlike, the other aforementioned species we’re not all able to hibernate, migrate south or go for months at a time without access to a good meal; much less our daily cappuccino mocha latte. The shorter days and longer nights will, all the same, trigger our body to prepare for the season ahead. And despite our established patterns of getting through the colder months, it makes sense to give it some thought, if not for yourself then for the 33% of others who may be in your social orbit.
The first thing to understand is, sensitivity to changes in seasonal patterns is a healthy emotional response. The beauty of Autumn is much celebrated by poets, painters and songwriters for the sensual richness it brings us in that interlude between the warm summers and cooler winters. There is much to be said about enjoying the in-betweenness of seasonal transitions because somehow it helps us to appreciate what each season has to offer. We are after all part of nature’s rich tapestry in this sense.
When we accept that circumstances change, we are better positioned to change too, if we so choose. There’s also something enlightened and humble about seeing the seasonal transition as a gift from nature. After all, we can’t in any real sense control the passage of the seasons and with each passing phase, there are unique benefits in terms of food, flora and festivals. We don’t need to look far to see that our social cycles, for various reasons, have long been attuned with the seasons. It is not a coincidence that Autumn is the season for hope, contemplation, renewal and rebirth. You might say it’s the “old normal” and we have long embraced it.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.Desmond Tutu
Getting Through Change
However, hypersensitivity to seasonal changes, especially when they prevent or hinder the full enjoyment of life can be daunting. This year, of course, there have been unusual circumstances for us to grapple with in the form of the global pandemic. With the looming possibility of a second wave and more lockdown measures coming in across Europe and the USA, there are other factors at play. And even if we are fortunate enough to have the resilience and means to get through without too much impact, it makes sense to be aware of what others might be facing.
Just so you know what to look our for, the symptoms of SAD include:-
- Constant low mood
- Lack of energy
- Not wanting to see people
- Shutting out the outside world
- Changes to eating habits
- Difficulty in sleeping and waking up
- A feeling of sluggishness
Managing Your Mood
As mentioned, for those affected, SAD is no picnic. In context, it is a genuine concern for many at this time and throughout the year. So here are our 6 tips for getting through the season. Give them a try.