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Does the change in seasons get to you?

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As the darker nights draw in and the weather starts getting cooler, many people start to feel SAD – and we’re not talking about the emotion.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is thought to impact up to 3 people in 100 across the UK every year. Most people think SAD is an autumn and winter disorder, but it can also affect people over the spring and summer months, too. 

SAD is more than the “winter blues” – the symptoms of this disorder are similar to those of depression, however, the onset of symptoms usually begin in the autumn and begin to end by spring. 

Diagnosis for SAD can take up to 2 years; this allows your GP to find patterns in the symptoms you’re experiencing to ensure the correct diagnosis is being made. If you think you are experiencing SAD, writing down the following will help your GP make a diagnosis: 

  • Your mood 

  • Any changes within your lifestyle 

  • Any changes to your eating 

  • Any changes to your sleeping patterns 

  • Any seasonal changes in your thoughts and behaviours 

  • The impact of your symptoms on your day-to-day life (whether it is preventing you from going about your life as you would previously).

Why is Self-Care so Important?

Whether you have SAD or not, self-care is a vital part of our day-to-day lives and can improve our overall wellbeing, hugely.

Self-care goes beyond the usual self-hygiene measures we usually do everyday – think brushing your teeth, showering etc. Self-care exists to nourish your wellbeing, to soothe or improve your mood, and to show yourself a bit of love and care. 

So what is Self-Care?

Self-care is any activity we carry out to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Sounds simple, but it’s often the one thing we overlook when it comes to taking care of ourselves. It is there to give to ourselves, rather than take away. 

Remember, self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care is something we can all do every day, it is an essential tool especially when struggling with mental ill-health, including Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Self Care Ideas.

Here are some self-care ideas that can get you well on your way to being the self-care pro we know you can be! 

  1. Phone a friend or family member for a chat. It’s easy to feel isolated when you have a mental illness – take the time to call a loved one, if only for five minutes. 

  2. Read a favourite book or get lost in the pages of a new story you’ve always wanted to read. We find reading a great way to quiet loud minds, and discover new places through someone else’s words. 

  3. Exercise – If able, take thirty minutes to exercise, or even just 5 minutes to take a walk and listen to nature around you. 

  4. Listen to some uplifting music. Crank up the volume and listen to a favourite playlist on Spotify, or an album that never ceases to make you feel better. 

  5. Journaling – Spend ten minutes a day writing or drawing in a journal. 

  6. Join our Facebook Group, we have an amazing, safe, and understanding community to share your thoughts and feelings. www.facebook.com/groups/poetsin

  7. Netflix binge. Getting lost in the realms of a brilliant Netflix box set gives your body and mind time to unwind and relax. 

  8. Practice some mindfulness – using all of your senses, focus on the way something sounds, feels, tastes, looks, and smells. This kind of mindfulness helps to clear the mind and ground ourselves in the here and now, rather than anxiously looking too far into the future of what if’s and maybe’s. 

  9. Set boundaries and say “no”.

  10. Delete one person a week from social media that doesn’t contribute to your happiness. 

  11. Wake up an hour earlier and enjoy the quiet.

  12. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help.

  13. Stock up on healthy non-perishable foods for days you feel like you just can’t get out. Soups, noodles, cereal, protein bars, and shakes.

  14. Open windows on cooler days. Moving air helps the brain.

  15. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the smallest task – even finishing that is a victory.

  16. Get outside and sit in the sounds of nature. 

  17. Do something creative. 

  18. Make lists of things you’re proud of.

And finally…

PoetsIN have a range of resources available for free. They’re easy to download and will help with all things mental wellbeing. It is as important to invest time in our mental health as well as our physical health. Visit: poetsin.com/resources to get your copies.

Author: Sammie Adams

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