On the facebook group I am on for SAD I am seeing a lot of people are still struggling. Now, I know that here in the UK the summer hasn’t been the best so far. I’ve experienced worse but it has been very changeable and that is something many SADders struggle with, but if you are still feeling as bad as you did in the depths of winter it is worth looking at a few aspects of your life to find out whether it actually is SAD or if something else is going on.
The first things to look into are whether you are working or living in an environment that your body thinks is winter. For us winter isn’t just about the cold, it’s light levels and sun exposure that are most important.
Do you have thick drapes in your bedroom?
One of the problems we SADders suffer from is that our brain doesn’t recognise that it is daytime so continues to produce sleep hormones. If you have thick drapes you won’t be getting the effects of the dawn and your brain will think it is still night time. By leaving your drapes open just a little bit so that the dawn light enters your room you may find waking up a little easier.
Do you spend a lot of time in dark rooms or do you wear sunglasses as soon as the sun comes out?
If you work in a dark office, spend a lot of time in dark rooms or wear sunglasses as soon as the sun comes out you are once again blocking out the light you need to keep your brain perky . When we use our light box we are faking our eyes being exposed to a sunny day. If, when summer comes, we block it out or don’t see it at all then the brain will continue to produce sleep hormones.
Are you getting out in the sun most days without sunblock or covering up?
If you’re not allowing the sun to hit your skin every day, without sun block, then you still won’t be producing Vitamin D3, the vitamin we supplement through the winter. This has to be bare arms and face at the very least, legs if you’re brave enough. It only has to be 15 to 20 minutes and it doesn’t have to be in one go or at the height of the day, but you do need to let your skin see the sun.
Do you stop taking all of your supplements as soon as April arrives?
If the problem is prolonged cloud cover or you work inside all day then you won’t have as much control over this so you may find it helps to continue with your Vitamin D3 all year round. Of course spring arriving has no effect on your intake or production of your other supplements such as Vitamin B, Magnesium or Omega oils so you will need to continue to take them all year round.
Stopping now with your supplements now could lead to you becoming deficient and could possibly lead to the following winter being even harder.
If this doesn’t help then it is possible what you are experiencing isn’t your winter SAD and it might be worth investigating what else is happening in your life. For some winter depression continues on and becomes general depression. It is also possible that we blame our SAD for our feelings about situations in our life that are not healthy.