Guest Post: 7 Tips to Combating SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder)

Yesterday I posted about Blooming Monday – the antidote to Blue Monday: an initiative set up by Mental Health Research UK.  I focused on wearing colour to combat a low mood at this (or indeed any) time of year.

My friend, and coaching colleague, Beverly Sherratt, also posted about Blue Monday and the ways in which you can overcome Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD) on her blog: 

Christmas is over.  We’ve entered the New Year, some of us quietly, some in celebration, maybe entering 2014 with hopes and aspirations, others maybe with apprehension, or fear… The weather at this time of year doesn’t help either.

So after the build up to Christmas, the celebrations of the New Year, it’s back to work, back to routine, the dark mornings, days and early dark nights, that had been secondary to the busy festive season are now in our full consciousness.  The days are dark, dank and grey!  The media told us last week that it was “Blue Monday”, but theorists formula state it will be Monday 20 January.

According to a press release by a mental health charity www.mentalhealth.org.uk . 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-01-13.  the formula is:

\frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units.

It is stated the date is set using many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. 

Either way I guess that tells us that we are in the midst of SAD or Seasonally Affective Disorder ….. When people can be feeling low, blue, depressed, sad, …………

So how can we lift our spirits?

  1. Don’t deprive yourself, BUT! Don’t binge or be impulsive either!  Quite often over indulgence is attributed to low mood, too much food, alcohol, over-spending, etc. all lead to either beating ourselves up, or continuing to over indulge in spending, drinking, eating, etc. to make ourselves feel better (short-term then downward spiral).  So what can you do?  Set a plan to address the issue that is bothering you.  Address it in bite size chunks or quick wins.  Ask yourself “What do I really want to do?”  ”What do I really want?”  ”Can I do this on my own?”  ”What do I need to do first to make this happen?”  ”What happens if I don’ttake action?”  What happens if I do take action?”  ”When will I start?”
  2. Consciously look up.  We may not realise it but body language can help change our mood!  Have you noticed that people tend to look down, slouch, or adopt a closed, protective body position when they are feeling low?  Well, some therapists, without explanation, get people to spend the time between appointments counting chimneys.  This not only provides a  focus and objective, but completely changes their body language – Try it change your posture too – sit up straight when you sit down.
  3. Walk on bright crisp days.  We know that SAD is attributed to lack of brightness and sunshine.  Indeed light therapy is often used.  What do we do in poor weather – first thought – snuggle up, keep the onesy on, watch a movie, eat….. etc.  We then end
    1. up feeling stuffed up or getting “cabin fever” looking at the same four walls.  On bright crisp days we can look out of the window and think “if this was July that sky could mean its 27 degrees!”  Well tell yourself that, get wrapped up, and go for a bracing walk – blow the cobwebs away and get some winter sun on you!
    2. Make contact with people – often they are feeling the same.  We all talk about SAD.  We hear people at work, in the shops, in the school yard, friends, or relatives, saying they wish they either had something to look forward to or the weather was better, nights lighter, etc.  Why not get together and turn SAD into FUN!  Go on be the organiser!
    3. Don’t sit procrastinating – do or dump! You’ll only beat yourself up!  Take ACTION!  There’s no room for “I wish I could”  ”If only I”  ”I wish I was like….”  If it’s important enough, or you really want it – DO IT!  Set it as a goal, set targets and deadlines, get the support and information you need and ACT!  ACTION can also be a conscious decision to DUMP! what you’ve been procrastinating over.  Both approaches leave us with a sigh of relief – We have an action plan or the burden is lifted as we have looked at the implications and DUMPED it!
    4. Make achievable plans then break them down into small short-term goals that are achievable.  So how many New Years resolutions have come and gone over the years?  Largely because we haven’t thought about the true issue or consequences of the resolution, or it’s so big we are overwhelmed.  Concentrate on a single goal, something that is really important to you, not an overwhelming list.  Ask yourself “what is the single thing I want to act on first?” Not “Should“.  Then do a plan, consider the support or information you need, look at the options open to you, and then decide on your approach.  When you have the information you need and your plan written down, set your deadline.  Remember there is no failure only learning and feedback!  If things don’t go to plan, pick yourself up and get back on track.
    5. Take charge – take personal responsibility!  If doing things to please others is dragging you down, or you feel it’s a new year and you should be doing X Y or Z, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. You are responsible for all you do.  If you don’t hold yourself to account, then, only you pay the price.  Be bold, take action, behave, and achieve confidently by taking charge of yourself.

    http://www.blooming-monday.com/ invites us to be bright and bold on 20 January! What will you wear!?

 

Read more on Beverly’s blog: http://www.profectus4people.co.uk/blog.html

I'd love to hear your comments on this post

Gillian Lewis
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Gillian Lewis

Self Image Coach at Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy based in Darlington, County Durham, UK
What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles.Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect.Sometimes it's serious.Sometimes it's just fun.Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience.If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you 😀
Gillian Lewis
FOLLOW ME
About Gillian Lewis

What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles. Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's just fun. Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience. If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you :-D