Sleep Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) – how 1 or 2 solid self help ideas and hypnotherapy can help…

Seasonal Affective Disorder commonly known by its acronym S.A.D. is a unique form of depression that often exhibits a seasonal pattern; the dreaded, ‘Winter Blues’.

A condition that tends to bleakly raise its ugly head around the Autumn and Winter months, it also descends upon a time of the year characterised by shorter daylight hours, and a weather front that keeps us often all too couped up inside the four walls.

Particularly in the UK, where the climate often skews toward the dreary, S.A.D. affects a notable number of people.

This guide will explore what S.A.D. is, examine the symptoms and challenges that individuals often face, and look at the role of self-care and solution focused hypnotherapy as beneficial approaches to managing this condition.

 

Defining Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is often termed the “winter blues” or “winter depression”, and is a variant of major depressive disorder that shows itself during specific seasons.

Whilst there is no definitive reasoning behind the disorder, the leading theory is that reduced exposure to natural light during these seasons influences the way we feel.

The connection between S.A.D. and emotions is profound, as it deeply impacts feelings and stress levels in affected individuals.

 

Symptoms and Challenges of S.A.D.

S.A.D. presents itself through various symptoms that are emotionally and physically taxing.

 

Low Mood: A persistent feeling of sadness is usually the most glaring symptom. This mood affects general emotional well-being, making individuals irritable and less interested in activities they used to enjoy.

Fatigue: One of the most cumbersome struggles is the draining fatigue that hampers daily activities.

Sleep Disruptions: Anomalies in sleep patterns are common, leading to problems such as oversleeping or difficulties in waking up in the morning.

Weight Fluctuations: Cravings, especially for high-carbohydrate foods, can lead to weight gain.

Focus Issues: S.A.D. can severely hinder concentration, affecting performance in work or educational settings.

 

 

The Importance of Initiating Self-Care Ideas

Self-care is integral in managing the symptoms of S.A.D. and significantly improves one’s emotional and physical health.

For some, self care ideas can be a major gain if they can get them going before S.A.D. kicks in so that the habits are already underway…

 

Light: Ideally, any light into the eyes is a good thing, especially when there are fewer daylight hours (but please please please don’t look directly at the sun as this can damage the eye).

This effort needs to be direct and not through glass such as a window or windscreen, and ideally, a minimum of 30 minutes as early as possible in the day.

The same goes for when the sun goes down behind the clouds in the evening (even if this is behind the clouds!).

So yes, dragging the winter togs on and getting out is key to improved psychology too, as well as the gains from the brisk and chilly walk that you’ll need to keep some warmth in the bones.

But it’s not just natural light that can help.

Artificial light can be a benefit in these grey days too.

Exposure to bright, artificial light that replicates natural sunlight and helps in resetting the internal body clock can be a major help.

So get it light, and get it bright, because light therapy is a fundamental in treating S.A.D.

 

Physical Exercise: Regular activity, such as walking or cycling, can improve mood and raise energy levels. And yes this SUCKS in cold wet weather, but it sucks to be S.A.D. too, so by far this is the lesser of the evils.

 

A Balanced Diet: A well-maintained diet helps in stabilising blood sugar and controlling weight, which is often a concern for those with S.A.D.

Getting the greens in early is a help, and getting to bed a little earlier too has a major impact on cortisol (not good for maintaining a healthy diet), and your forebrain (the part that initiates self-discipline and control).

Sleep. It’s good. And is your best and cheapest performance drug you carry with you at all times!

 

Social Interaction: Keeping a vibrant social circle provides the emotional backing needed during challenging times.

Face to face is gold.

But a chat on the phone is a decent backstop.

Facebook, is not.

 

Mindfulness: Activities such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can be beneficial for stress management and mental health improvement.

But for some mindfulness makes them more stressed out than not – so anything down the same line can be nearly as good. Things like reading, gardening (weather permitting), taking a bath, cooking, knitting or needlepoint, or mind games like Sudoku or crosswords have been shown to create a blissfully peaceful mind too. Better still, board games with others tick a good few of those necessary boxes for mental gains as well.

Of course, if you’re a real Zen warrior, just take 30 minutes to stare out of the window and watch the world go by.

The Role of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy As A Treatment

People’s understanding of Hypnotherapy has evolved with the 21st century and is now viewed as one of the most effective tools in handling a variety of mental health conditions, including S.A.D., and for those who find it hard to maintain a structure full of self care ideas, enlisting the help of a professional may be the way to go.

Solution-focused therapy zeroes in on the present and the future, focusing less on the problems of the past and ‘why I got here’, and more on the solutions for now, and ‘where I’d like to be’.

The use of hypnosis in solution-focused hypnotherapy creates a natural process of peaceful calm in the brain, leading to behaviour changes through neuroplasticity (how the brain alters naturally through focus and relaxation).

You’re virtually asleep, but your mind is busy working hard in the background.

The approach is calming and relaxing and specifically tailored to reduce the effects of the fight or flight response triggered by stress and anxiety.

 

 

Conclusion

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a big mental health issue in the UK, especially noticeable during the darker, colder months.

While S.A.D. can be daunting, it’s vital to recognise that it’s a manageable condition.

Self-care strategies like light therapy and physical exercise offer significant benefits.

Solution-focused hypnotherapy stands as a natural, calming approach that focuses on future solutions rather than past problems.

So, if you or someone you know struggles with the nagging blues that can be worsened through S.A.D., it may be useful to know that there are numerous treatment options, including hypnotherapy, that can improve the quality of life.

 

 

🌐 Useful Resources

NHS – S.A.D. “winter depression”

Mind – S.A.D. “your own black cloud”

Mental Health Foundation – S.A.D. “the changing of seasons”

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