Smile

5 morning tips to beat SAD

Five morning tips to beat SAD

What are the first words that come to mind when you think of winter? Dark, depressing, dull? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs when we move from one season to the next. The NHS says that SAD is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’, because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.

And a new survey by the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association has shown that 21 per cent of the UK’s population is affected by ‘Winter Blues’. So, if you are looking for ways to help lift your mood during the colder months, then look no further. Here are our 5 morning tips to beat SAD…

Light up your mornings

Now the days are getting darker, the amount of exposure we have to sunlight is limited. This is the leading cause of SAD, according to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA). However, one way to boost your mood is to get as much light as you can in the morning. Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at superfooduk.com explains: ‘On a normal bright or sunny day, daylight entering the eye increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin “happy hormone” and prevents its conversion to melatonin, a hormone, which induces sleep and feelings of lethargy.’ Getting outside as much as you can will really help. ‘Go out for a walk in your lunch hour and always make sure spend time outdoors at the weekend,’ says Shona.

Stock up on Vitamin D

Boosting your vit D intake could help, too. ‘The efficiency of the immune system in people with SAD appears to be lowered during the winter,’ according to SADA. So taking a supplement through the winter could keep it on track. ‘Vitamin D3 has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of SAD so taking a morning supplement may help,’ says nutritionist Dr. Marilyn Glenville.

Keep yourself busy

Do whatever it takes to get you out of bed because, according to Shona Wilkinson, having a productive morning can benefit your mood. ‘Ultimately, your mood reflects your thinking and state of mind, so a “quick fix’” is easier if you do something that stops you thinking your negative thoughts,’ Shona says. Why not try preparing your outfit the night before, listening to some tunes or cooking a healthy breakfast?

Snack right

Cassandra Barns, nutritional therapist, recommends snacking sensibly to keep your energy levels high. ‘When we are feeling down, snacks high in sugar, such as cakes, biscuits and chocolate, seem like a quick and easy fix. However, this quick boost of energy will only last only an hour or two, before you face another sugar crash,’ says Cassandra. Cassandra also suggests going for a morning snack that contains a combination of slow-releasing, unrefined carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to reduce symptoms of SAD. ‘Try snacking on half an avocado on a slice of rye bread, raw carrots with houmus or organic plain yoghurt with pumpkin seeds or blueberries throughout the day,’ Cassandra says.

Decrease the caffeine

Drinking coffee or energy drinks may seem like a good solution when you’re feeling lacklustre, but the high won’t last. When they wear off it can cause your energy levels to drop, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Cassandra recommends swapping your daily cup of coffee for a green tea, as it is an excellent healthy mood booster. ‘Green tea contains some caffeine, which gives you a bit of a lift, but it is also packed with the amino acid, theanine. Theanine can have a relaxing effect and may help to relieve anxiety and mental stress, potentially by increasing your levels of serotonin, dopamine (responsible for reward and pleasure), and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA, which has a relaxant effect),’ she says.

For more ways to stay fit and healthy this winter, check out how to stay fit al desko or these 5 flu-fighting rituals.