Beat the Winter Blues

By Nicola Salmon - Acupuncturist -

Winter Blues

Autumn is now well and truly on its way. The leaves already seem to be turning and there are plenty of blackberries waiting to be foraged. The days are getting shorter and for some this signals the start of the winter blues.

According to the UK Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) affects about 20% of the UK population and usually starts between September and November. You can begin to feel depressed, tired, struggle to get to sleep or oversleep, comfort eat or feel anxious. It’s not a nice way to spend several months of the years so why not see if you can make some positive improvements naturally?

Light boxes – Using a specially designed light box (10,000 lux) for about an hour a day can provide your body with much needed light stimulation and reduce any symptoms you experience. You can also buy special alarm clocks that wake you up with light. This is especially helpful if you suffer from sleep problems.

Vitamin D – Make sure you take a good quality vitamin D supplement throughout the winter months. This will ensure that you maintain good levels of vitamin D, which you can’t get from sunshine (the normal way your body makes vitamin D).  Taking vitamin D will also give your immune system a good boost and should reduce the number of coughs and colds you get.

Exercise – If you can, get out into the sunshine at least once a day and go for a walk. Try and incorporate it into your normal day, such as a walk during your lunchtime. Exercise is really beneficial for when you feel low and being outside in the sun (or rain!) will lift your mood.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture is not only great for aches and pains. It can be really beneficial for when you feel down or if you are having sleep issues. Your acupuncturist will take a full health questionnaire and find out a complete picture of your health. They may also give nutritional and lifestyle advice to help you feel better and cope during the winter months

St John’s Wort – This herbal remedy is a great mild antidepressant and can be really helpful in tackling the depression or anxiety experienced by some SAD sufferers. Please seek advice from a qualified health professional before taking any herbal supplements as they may interfere with other medication.

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