Seasonal Affected Disorder

Autumn is here, the clocks have gone back, and winter is on its way.

According to NHS Inform, SAD affects around 2 million people in the UK and if you’re one of them, you’re probably starting to feel the effects.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that often occurs in the autumn and winter. For most people the symptoms are mild, but some may feel depression, hopelessness, sadness, guilt, anxiety and apathy, overeating and weight gain.

Sleep problems, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, are also common and sufferers can experience difficulties carrying out daily tasks and feel low and unsociable.

According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, it is believed to be caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) because of shorter daylight hours and lack of sunlight during the winter.

Some think that, rather than being a physical disorder, SAD is a natural response which has enabled us to survive cold weather throughout our evolutionary history. With food scarce we may have undergone a form of hibernation/slow down during the winter months, and things like reproduction would have been put on hold until food became available again.

Whatever the cause, being outdoors is a great way to combat SAD.

If the symptoms are severe, then medical intervention is required. However, there are some things that you can do for yourself.

  • Spend as much time as possible outside in natural daylight.
  • Take regular walks during work or lunch breaks even if it’s just around the block
  • Maintain a healthy diet, this will improve your mood and give you more energy.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Join in with group activities, as social activities are great for your mental health

And herbs may help, though again if symptoms are severe or persistent, consult a medical professional.

  • Rosemary is thought to help lift depression
  • Chamomile and Lemon Balm have calming effects and can be taken as tea

If you are struggling to adjust to the darker days, then there’s plenty going on at Abundant Borders

  • Each Monday afternoon, join Pete at Ayton Community Garden
  • Each Tuesday morning you can join Pauline in Duns or Bill in Hawick Community Gardens
  • Every other Tuesday morning, join Annie for Simply Social Cooking
  • Each Wednesday, join the Social Lunch in Coldstream or Pete and the Community Growers in Foulden
  • Each Thursday, join us for LunchPlus at venues across Berwickshire or in the morning you can join Pete in the Eyemouth Garden
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