Do you find yourself feeling bummed when the grey, rainy clouds come in? Like many people in colder countries where winters are harsh and stretch on for months, you might be experiencing a milder form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (whose acronym is an apt SAD), also known as, winter depression. This is a type of depression that occurs around the same time every year, and is generally linked with the appearance of the sun, among other factors.
Psychologist Shweta Parekh has worked with patients who show symptoms of SAD. “A girl with seasonal distress visited me once. She had depression in the evenings and it aggravated during the monsoon when the sun is not out every day,” says Parekh. “Her symptoms included oversleeping, crying without a specific reason and just lying in bed all day. It was affecting her daily routine.” The patient’s lethargy further added to her low feeling.
Parekh recommends treatment with imagery techniques called visual desensitisation. “There has been research in the field which indicates that the number of suicide increase during gloomy weather days,” says Parekh. However, SAD doesn’t literally have to make you sad. You can tackle mild symptoms by using some popular methods.
“You can tackle it with good lighting at home, preferably bright-coloured lamps indoors,” says Parekh. “Try to be outdoors and engage in group activities.” Hanging out with your friends and family instead of staying alone will also help elevate your mood. But if you feel that you’re unable to cope in spite of these techniques, talk to an expert. “Often, SAD is beyond the patient’s control, so it’s better to seek temporary professional help,” says Parekh.
Simple home remedies to Give your mood a boost
Make your surroundings brighter by opening blinds, sitting near windows at home or the workplace, using bright lights
Engage in outdoor activities with friends and family
Get enough sleep
Wear bright prints and colours
Create and listen to a happy playlist. Song recommendations include: The Beatles’ Here comes the sun, Paolo Nutini’s, New shoes and Nena’s, 99 red balloons, among many others. Many peppy Bollywood numbers are mood uplifters as well.
— With inputs by Mayo Clinic, PubMed and NHS-U
Are you SAD?
Some common symptoms include: