Skin Health Magazine Issue #6 / Winter 2018 - Page 9

& Mind Wellbeing Beat the winter blues F or many of us, this isn’t exactly the most wonderful time of the year. One or two people out of every hundred are touched by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — and 5-6% suffer its more severe form: Winter De- pression. That’s a lot of people fighting this annual battle. SAD typically begins with autumn’s drop in temperature, and it continues right through to spring. You could easily overlook the symptoms of SAD — thinking, for example, you’re just feeling demotivated by yucky weather — but SAD must be taken seriously. For mild sufferers, it’s a quality-of-life issue. For severe sufferers, who may even toy with suicidal thoughts, treating SAD can be a matter of life and death. So let’s talk about it. Are you experiencing these symptoms? • Losing interest in activities • Feeling depressed much of the day • Problems sleeping or oversleeping • Feeling sluggish • Changes in appetite or weight • Getting agitated easily • Difficulty concentrating • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty • Thinking about death or suicide Wondering why you’re feeling like this? Several factors are suspected. The limited sun- light messes with our biological clock, sending mixed messages about when to be sleepy or wakeful. Reduced sunlight can cause a dip in levels of serotonin (a brain chemical that affects mood) and melatonin (which affects sleep and mood) too. So what can you do about it? Get Help. If it feels serious, see a doctor right away. Treatment plans and medications are available. Light Therapy. Start your day sitting by a high-quality phototherapy ‘light box’, which emits bright light similar to the natural outdoor light. Exercise Regularly. Exercise offers countless benefits, and it won’t let you down here. Work- outs relieve anxiety and stress and leave you feeling better about yourself in general. Be Social. When you’re feeling down, avoiding people comes naturally. Push yourself to have regular interaction with friends, family or even strangers at the supermarket. Get Outside. Sunshine may be limited, but getting outside exposes you to vital natural light and the invigoration of open spaces and fresh air. And remember: you’re not alone and this will pass. Sunnier days are just around the corner. ISSUE #06 | 2018 | SkinHealthMagazine.com 9