Don’t get SAD get even!
So, Summer is well and truly over here in the UK and many of my friends and family have been dreading the first drops of rain. Since the cold has set in, we all seem to be engaged in our annual moaning about how depressing the weather is.
In Britain, the winds, rain and cold come as a quick shock and the time of ‘Furnace Thursday’ now feels aeons away. As we all know, the summer does not last all year and autumn has set in with winter fast on its tracks. Many people hate the idea of having to wake up to darkness and put on their winter coats. This can even be a source of mood change and depression for some. Known as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD), this critter appears during the changing seasons and is responsible for symptoms such as low energy and mood swings.
Research by The Weather Channel and YouGov has found that 29 per cent of adults will be experiencing some form of SAD-type anxiety, while 57 per cent state that their mood will worsen in the colder months. I began to get quite agitated when I kept seeing social media and WhatsApp messages from family and friends all saying how depressing the weather has become or getting upset at the ‘horrible days’ and generally saying that they don’t feel like going out. But not only is this attitude very counterproductive, it also distracts you from enjoying life and completing your daily tasks, as you sit there dreaming about the distant summer months.
Now I have no problem with people telling me they are looking forward to their Easter holiday in Spain or picnics in the parks, but what I’m fed up with is the pointless moaning and making of excuses because of the weather — something that cannot be helped.
So, here is a list of things that I find will help people to enjoy the increasing cold and lessen the effects of SAD:
(Not medically researched!)
- Read a happy book. This may sound whimsical but can really cheer you up on that train journey to work or school. This can also be a good distraction from all the political chaos!
- Listen to Podcasts. This is something I do regularly. As one of my favourites, try The Bottom Line hosted by Evan Davis who interviews businesses leaders and discusses upcoming debates in the business world.
- Go out for a meal with friends or family. Even if it’s just down the road to your nearest pub for a burger and chips and maybe some sticky toffee pudding, this can lighten your mood considerably, especially if you do this on a weekday! Cheeky but oh-so nice.
- Play some board games. Not only are they good for your concentration but they’re actually back on trend.
- Ring or visit a relative. Has the summer kept you away from a close relative? Well, now’s the time to make amends and pay them a visit with a fresh batch of home-made cookies. Brighten up their day as well as yours!
- Eat vegetables. Buy veg in season and save money. Pumpkin risotto anyone?
- Take some fresh air. Even though this can be hard sometimes, it can make you feel more energetic and less lonely, especially if you take a friend. Just make sure you have your scarf and umbrella at the ready!
Whatever you do this winter, just make sure it’s something that will get you going to start the day. Even if it’s a glass of cold orange juice in the morning or doing some star jumps, get out of bed and do something, anything to get yourself out of that static winter rut.
Stay warm and stay safe! But, if you feel your symptoms are getting worse, then please consult your GP who could provide gentle counselling, or talk to a trusted family member or friend about your feelings.