Five natural ways to cure Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD
In Northern Europe, around 12 million people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Symptoms range from mild such as feeling a little depressed, poor concentration and lethargy to full blown depression, chronic fatigue and even suicidal thoughts.
I’ve had SAD for the past ten years and finally, after a few years tweaking my regime I’ve sorted it out with some natural and alternative remedies. Here’s what’s worked for me:
SAD usually occurs when the days get shorter. The lack of light means your body wants to sleep more. Up to a certain point this is fine, and it’s what nature intended, but when you don’t want to get up until 11am and you could go back to bed by 6pm with a 2 hour nap after lunch it’s time to intervene!
For years I thought a light box was an expensive gimmick, but a few years ago I hired one for a month and couldn’t believe the changes in my mood. After just 10 days I felt like a new person. I was waking up earlier and able to stay up later at night. I use mine while I eat breakfast, when I’d be sitting down anyway, so it doesn’t disrupt my routine at all. I use it from September 1st until mid March.
Last year, after 20 years of being a vegetarian I started eating fish again and I’ve noticed big changes with the SAD. I used to need a sleep in the afternoon, but now I don’t and I put it down to the omega 3s. If you’re vegan, then why not try using hemp seeds or a hemp supplement?
Although it’s the last thing you feel like doing, taking a walk outdoors every day helps to give your body the light it is craving. Yes it’s hard when all you want to do is curl up in front of the fire, but I find taking that walk first thing helps get me going for the day.
Having SAD can be a pretty depressing experience, so bring summer into your life with essential oils. The citrus oils are uplifting and I use lavender and rose because they are infused with sunlight. Use them in an oil burner or apply daily as a massage oil.
Acceptance is the key. If you need a nap when you get in from work then take one without beating yourself up. Before the days of clocks and electric lighting we were governed by the seasons, so in many ways it is natural to get SAD when you’re pushing against the rhythms of life. Obviously you can’t stop your regular life for a few months but you can slow down – do yoga instead of a high impact gym workout, eat nourishing foods prepared in the slow cooker and exchange some of your clubs and committees for a bath and early night.
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