Maybe my timing is a little off, we’re past January and the light is starting to creep back into our lives a little earlier in the morning and a little longer in the evenings. Maybe that’s the case, but nevertheless, winter is coming (Games of thrones has had its effect on everyone).
I’m writing this article as it’s something I am far too experienced in – Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.
S.A.D. is a type of depression that becomes more apparent toward the end of autumn and throughout winter. People who experience S.A.D. will often improve as spring and summer roll round, but when the nights close in and the clocks fall back the depression could well return.
Symptoms of S.A.D. are listed on the NHS website as:
- Persistent low mood
- A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- Feeling despair, guilt or worthlessness
- Sleeping for longer than normal and struggling to get up in the morning (although this affects most people year round, especially at weekends!)
- Craving carbs and gaining weight
So what causes S.A.D – and how can we overcome it?
Now one cause of S.A.D. could be the lack of Vitamin D your body is producing, this happens naturally when sunlight hits your skin, hence why we can feel low in winter, especially if working in an office or in artificial light. One way to overcome this could be to go out and buy yourself a sun lamp, but who wants to sit in front of a bright light to feel better?!
About 4 years ago I was in a rut, I felt my work life had stagnated, my personal life was pretty normal for someone in their early 20’s, i.e. drinking/’socialising’ most weekends, playing Playstation or getting my ‘Netflix and chill’ on – although back then I don’t think it carried quite the stigma it does now, it was more just watching TV and not moving much…
I found that my mood would start to spiral more and more and I’d start to show all of the symptoms listed above around late October. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but it was a bit rubbish to say the least.
It was only when I moved away from my membership at a well-known ‘Globo-gym’ and started working with a group of like-minded people at a small independent gym that I started to really appreciate exercise, I came away with endorphins flying around my body (more about this in another article!) showed a MUCH quicker advance in my strength and fitness, and I was genuinely, REALLY, enjoying myself, rather than paying tribute to the pull-down machine, or curling the guns whilst staring at my sweaty shaky self in the mirror (this isn’t a prelude to the plot of Dodgeball, by the way)
By getting into training, I was starting to experience a change, not only physically, but also my mood was lifted, I felt more energetic, I had aims and goals (another article for the future!), I felt like life was more than just getting by from day to day.
Don’t think that by getting your arse to the gym thrice a week you’re instantly going to be happier than Pharrell Williams in a new hat, it’s a slow burning process, but I guess that’s what this blog is all about – appreciating that you won’t lift a 5kg dumbell and wake up the next day Mr. Universe, transformations take a little while, and that’s true for both your body, and your mind.
Nathan (click here for his profile)
If you experience S.A.D like Nathan, any many others, and want to share how you overcome it… please feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading!