Are You SAD?
Are you SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a case of seasonal depression that is commonly experienced by people throughout the world.
Symptoms of SAD typically build up slowly in the late autumn and winter months and include hopelessness, increased appetite with weight gain, increased sleep, less energy, loss of interest in work/activities, sluggish movements and social withdrawal. For you mums and dads who are feeling a little under the weather, take a look at our list of things to help keep you smiling.
Particularly for stay at home mothers, tracksuits and pyjamas become your go-to wardrobe when you’re feeling tired and under the weather. Try to combat negative feelings by reaching for bright, feminine and interesting clothing. You would be surprised the effect it can have; interesting clothes are a great conversation starter and a compliment from a friend or stranger on your morning run to the shop could instantly pick up your mood. Even wearing flirty matching underwear can be a mood-lifter and help keep a smile on your face.
Get some air
Its not always possible to head out for a relaxing walk, but scientists have proven that even opening a window and letting some air into the house can refresh your perspective. Research has also found that by opening the window after it has rained outside can increase exposure to negative ions in the air, which helps relieve symptoms of SAD.
When its finally your turn to monopolize the boob tube, forsake your favourite soap and switch on the slapstick instead. Laughter is the best medicine for good reason! Scientists say the physical act of laughter releases endorphins the brain chemicals that make you happy. (Though if you want a little drama and laughter, we recommend any of the Real Housewives shows.) During these cold months when you’re all stuck indoors, doing laps around the breakfast bar for exercise gets old quick. Working out doesn’t have to feel like work, and you don’t have to join a gym. Doctor permitting, bust out a yoga DVD or commandeer your kids Wii, plug in a fun workout game, like Just Dance 3, and sweat it out to rev up those feel-good endorphins.
When Mother Nature traps us indoors, a day without adult conversation can leave us feeling isolated and depressed. Nothing cheers a girl up like good gab, so let your kids amuse themselves for 10 minutes while you reach out and connect with someone supportive. Studies show that regular social interaction can boost mood-lifting serotonin levels by as much as 40 percent!
If you are suffering from SAD like symptoms, you need to eat for your mood. Seratonin is a chemical in the body which regulates the mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction and memory among other things.
A lack of serotonin therefore can lead to sleep problem, eating disorders and panic attacks. While serotonin doesn’t come directly from foods, it is released in the body with the help of amino acid tryptophan. A diet rich in carbohydrates such as whole grain, low GI foods such as barley, oats, buckwheat, sweet potato and squash and proteins such as chicken, turkey, white fish, pork, veal, lamb, cottage & low fat cheeses, seeds, nuts, low fat milk, soy and legumes will help usher tryptophan to the brain.
Spending time in a natural place such as a park or at the seashore, praying, meditating and engaging in relaxing activities such as crafts all help raise serotonin levels.
Moderate exercise that increases your heart rate slightly such as walking, yoga, swimming and cycling carried out 4 days in a row a week over a 2 month period will greatly increase your serotonin levels.
Care for yourself
Serotonin production requires at least 7 hours of sound, continuous sleep the night before. Get to bed and wind down with a book and perhaps a scented candle for a tranquil, relaxing sleep.
Listen to calming music you enjoy; visit a museum or watch feel-good films with happy endings; watch comedies that will have you doubled over laughing; clean and organise your body; engage in long deep conversations with others and enjoy life to the full.