If you suffer from Disorder of Seasonal Affective – often known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)- then the winter can be a more difficult time for you than most. While the causes of it aren’t fully understood SAD is a recognized form of clinical depression that strikes in the winter. Some belief it to be a result of the diminished hours of sunlight, others that it could be related to our reduced metabolism in the less active winter months. Whether the cause is physiological, psychological, or a mix of the two, the effects can be painful and difficult to live with.
Today we’re taking a look at the Disorder of Seasonal Affective and the different ways people find to endure difficult winters.
If long, dark nights where you’re stuck inside are part of what you find difficult about the winter, then it can be a good idea to take up a hobby that will occupy your time until Spring comes round. Craft hobbies can give you a way to express yourself artistically, to get the satisfaction of mastering a new skill, and let you create useful objects and artworks to decorate your home or give as gifts. Craft hobbies have long been the preserve of the winter months and exploring them for yourself can help you connect with previous generations.
You have lots of options for different craft skills you can explore, so you can pick the one that feels most satisfying and fulfilling to you. Embroidery is a perennially popular choice whether you’re working on traditional needlepoint, or with more experimental bead embroidery kits, while knitting, scrapbooking, card making, and weaving all offer different exciting and productive ways to get through the months of long nights and cold, wet weather.
One of the most popular theories about the cause of the Disorder of Seasonal Affective is that it is caused directly by the fewer hours of light in the day during the winter. When you’re away from bright light, your brain creates melatonin, which helps you to sleep. In the winter, with fewer hours of direct sunlight, you produce more melatonin, which is why you can feel fatigued and sluggish, and even depressed.
There are two important things you can do to counteract this. One is to capitalize on the daylight hours you do have. Take every opportunity you can to get outside – walking in winter can just as rewarding as rambling in the summer as long as you prepare properly!
It could also be worth investing in a Disorder of Seasonal Affective lamp. These lamps are designed to replicate the wavelengths of natural sunlight, so putting one on in the mornings and evenings is effectively giving your brain a dose of summer.
It’s important to note that none of this advice is a replacement for medical help, and if you struggle in the winter from seasonal depression, isolation or loneliness you should make an appointment with a specialist without delay, and get the help you need to get through to the brighter days of next spring.