It is important to think about caring for people with seasonal affective disorder. The winter blues are common and affects people of all ages. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include:
- persistent low mood
- loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities. It is thought that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain from working properly and impacting certain hormone levels. For those whose symptoms are so bad that they can’t live a normal life, they should seek advice from their GP.
Caring for people with seasonal affective disorder
Detailed below are some tips which may help with Caring and Seasonal Affective Disorder including how to help combat it.
Keep active and go outsideA daily walk can help people to cope with the winter blues. Going outside, ideally in the middle of the day and on brighter days helps to maximise the amount of natural light.Being cold may make people feel depressed, so keep warm by wrapping up, as well as drinking hot drinks and eating hot food. Aim to keep your home warm, at least 18C and 21C.
DietA healthy diet gives you more energy, boosts mood and can help you to avoid putting on weight over winter. Cravings for carbohydrates should be balanced out with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
LightAn effective way to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder is often to use a lightbox. The box gives out a very bright light, the idea is that you sit in front of the lightbox for 30 minutes per day. They are not available on the NHS but can be purchased privately relatively cheaply. Alternatively, perhaps try to sit near a window. Choosing pale colours on the walls or using mirrors may help to reflect light from outside.
Try something new
Taking on a new interest can give you something to look forward to and to think about as well as keeping your mind active.
See loved onesSpending time with other people is good for mental health. Make an effort to go and see the people you care about more often.
Please click here for our contact details if you would like to speak with our team about how we can help you or a loved one combat the winter blues.