(And how to tell if it’s something more serious)

Do you feel low or depressed when the days start getting shorter heading into winter, and better when the days lengthen into spring?

You may be suffering from a case of the “winter blues” which affects many Aussies. But sometimes these changes in mood can be a sign of a more serious condition known as seasonal affective disorder (aptly called “SAD”).

What does seasonal affective disorder look like and how do you treat it?

Between 1.5 and 9 percent of Aussies suffer from SAD, which includes symptoms of clinically depressed mood, oversleeping, overeating (particularly craving carbohydrates), and social withdrawal (wanting to “hibernate”). If you’re experiencing seasonal mood symptoms that are significantly impacting your daily life (for example, getting in the way of work or study), you may have SAD. 

Whether you meet criteria for SAD or are struggling with the winter blues, it’s important to seek treatment. Psychological therapy, light therapy, vitamin D supplementation, and anti-depressants are all potential treatments that can help people with seasonal mood changes to feel better. But simple things can help too–our top four tips are:

  • Make sure you get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight every morning (this helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle). 
  • Try to keep moving–aim for at least 20 minutes 3-4 times a week.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule and try to resist sleeping in.
  • Catch up with close friends instead of hibernating. 

If you are prone to the winter blues, make sure you don’t suffer alone–get in touch with your GP today. 

Source: https://www.ausmed.com.au/learn/articles/seasonal-affective-disorder