Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Let’s avoid the winter blues!

Let’s avoid the winter blues!

Hello again!

Have you ever noticed that during the winter months you feel a lot lower? More depressed? Or that you just tend to struggle a bit more?

This is normally the way SAD affects people, however a few experience feeling low during the summer and feel better during the winter.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects around 2 million people in the UK and over 12 million across Europe!

Usual symptoms of SAD are:

  • A constant low mood
  • A sense of worthlessness
  • Feeling a lack of energy
  • Sleeping for longer
  • Finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

If you really struggle to cope with these symptoms and you find them heavily affecting your everyday life, you should book an appointment to see your doctor. This should be easy and safe now as most doctors are offering appointments over the telephone so you will feel safe from COVID!

The causes

The causes of SAD haven’t been fully discovered but it is thought that the lack of exposure to sunlight messes up your:

  • Melatonin level – a hormone that makes you sleepy. People with SAD will produce this at higher levels
  • Serotonin level – a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. A lack of sunlight leads to lower serotonin levels and can lead to depression
  • Body clock – your body uses sunlight to time many important functions, such as when you wake up. Lower light levels during the winter may lead to depression.

Treatments for SAD

  • Getting as much natural sunlight as possible
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your stress levels – meditate, yoga, mindfulness!
  • Light therapy which stimulates exposure to sunlight
  • Antidepressant medicine (prescribed by your doctor to increase serotonin levels. But it is important to assess how badly you need these tablets as it might not be very helpful if you become reliant upon them)

What helps me to stay happy during winter

  • Eating fruit always makes me feel better!
  • Exercise and yoga helps me to release stress
  • Listening to music always uplifts my mood!
  • Probiotics help improve my immune system
  • Practising gratitude helps me to feel more grateful and have a more positive outlook on the day
  • Going for walks makes me feel fresh and relaxed

Thanks for reading!

Charley x

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