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As the colder months approach and the dark evenings arrive, it’s natural to feel a dip in mood or energy levels than usual.

Many factors contribute to this change. There is evidence that many people find that their mood naturally declines during the dark months. This is due to the change in weather, shorter days and less sunlight.

This can be known clinically as seasonal depression or SAD and the National Health Service estimates that 1 in 15 people in the UK suffer from this seasonal condition, many of whom go undiagnosed.

Seasonal depression is associated with fall and winter. This can make the coming months challenging, which is why it’s important to learn how to spot the signs early and implement ways to support your well-being.

The lower light levels during these months can lower the production of our serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. As such, it may be best to speak to your GP if you experience an extreme change in any of these symptoms.

As we approach the fall/winter months, if you feel like you might be suffering from seasonal depression, it might be a good idea to take action now.

Signs to look out for:

  • Extreme depression

  • Feeling withdrawn or not interested in normal activities

  • Change in appetite or sleep pattern

  • irritability

Things that help:

  • Lifestyle measures – Exercise regularly, get outside as much as possible when natural light is at its brightest.

  • Diet – Eat well, include fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet.

  • Nutritional supplements – take vitamins and supplements, your local health shop can advise you.

  • Light therapy – Light therapy can promote safe use of light. The use of light therapy for holistic health and wellness is increasing, you will find private light therapy in wellness studios.

  • Talking therapies – Talking to a counselor can help.

There’s no way to prevent seasonal depression, but with the right mindset, some self-compassion and early intervention, you can manage your symptoms. So if you think you’re prone to seasonal depression, talk to those around you. Consider making lifestyle changes and talk to your GP if feelings persist.

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