Everything really will be alright - spring is just around the corner

A Suffolk charity has given advice to those with seasonal affective disorder Picture: NEWSCAST ONLIN

A Suffolk charity has given advice to those with seasonal affective disorder Picture: NEWSCAST ONLINE - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk charity has been giving its advice on how to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, this winter.

SAD is a condition which can be experienced during winter with symptoms including fatigue, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, hopelessness and depression.

The Suffolk User Forum (SUF) which supports people in the county to help improve their emotional well-being and mental health hopes its list can help to avoid some of the symptoms of the condition.

Jayne Stevens, SUF manager, said: “For some people SAD can be a very serious which can make it hard for them to function as usual and find it difficult to carry out tasks such study and work.

“For those suffering with SAD it is important to take action. Although for some it may be necessary to visit a doctor, there are also some lifestyle changes we would like to promote that can help to reduce the SAD symptoms and help people to enjoy a happier winter.

“People should also remember spring will be here soon, and with it comes more sunshine, spelling an end to the dreaded symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Everything really will be alright.”

What does SUF recommend?

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• Socialising - Meeting with friends is a good antidote to feeling low, their kind words, laughter and support can help people out of a winter slump.

• Getting outside - A lack of sunlight is one of the reasons why people may be feeling low. Getting outside during the daylight hours which releases serotonin a hormone in the brain which helps to lift mood a create a happier state of mind.

• Using light therapy - Light therapy replaces the sunshine that you don’t get enough of during the winter, even when you do go outside for a stroll. Sitting in front of a -light box for between 15 minutes to two hours lets healing rays re-establish the natural rhythms that govern your body during the warmer times of the year.

• Journaling - It’s cathartic to release negative thoughts and emotions onto a piece of paper rather than keeping them bottled up. Often, once fears and anxieties are exposed to the light of day, they become less imposing as well as easier to understand and manage.

• Meditating - Studies show that meditation may be as effective as medication in relieving depression and anxiety. This is one of the reasons that mindfulness meditation has grown so much in popularity over the last few decades

• Eat healthy - Balanced meals that are packed with nutrients and spread evenly throughout the day can help keep energy levels up which helps improve mood.

• Exercising - Getting exercise leads to more efficient processing of negative emotions in the prefrontal cortex creating a greater sense of positivity.

• Getting to Sleep - Getting good rest is often easier said than done, as insomnia is one of the symptoms of the disorder. However, there are ways to relax and doze off on time, every night. Establishing an evening routine that starts by turning off electronic devices and following that with a hot shower, a mug of herbal tea, and a good book could help people sleep peacefully.

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