'Winter depression' kicks in

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'Winter depression' kicks in

Post by GD on Tue 08 Jan 2013, 7:35 pm

There's been a rise in calls to Guernsey's mental health charity Mind, as the days get shorter and darker.

'Winter depression' or Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may affect as many as a third of people living in the British Isles, according to the charity.

And with the January blues setting in, the problem often goes undiagnosed.

During December Guernsey experienced just 47 hours of sunlight. January has had only four hours and in the last six days there has been no sunshine at all, according to Guernsey Met.

It's a known fact that many of us feel better when the sun is shining. We are more cheerful and energetic.

But when the days get shorter, we are more inclined to do less work, go out less and eat more.

This is all to do with the lack of light.

Some people who suffer from SAD have a lowered immune system during the winter and are more inclined to get colds and infections.

Guernsey Mind manager Emily Litten said the charity received more calls when the weather changed in October and November, and again after Christmas.

"It's almost like going into hibernation for some people, their relationships will really suffer, they'll lose jobs.. their systems aren't able to cope, it is a physical reaction," she said.

But she added that the drop in serotonin people experienced could be counter-acted in a number of ways.

Those include spending more time outside rather than indoors, doing more exercise and eating healthily.

"If you do need some extra help talk to people about how your feeling...go out more with your friends and if you really need to, go and see your GP who might be able to recommend talking therapies or medication."

Here are some quick tips from the charity MIND to help beat SAD.

* Make the most of natural light. Expose yourself to natural light as much as possible.

*Avoid stress. Your body is less able to deal with a high level of pressure within the winter months.

*Exercise and eat well. Thereís plenty of evidence to show how good physical activity is for mental wellbeing, and for helping with problems such as depression. One research study showed that a daily one-hour walk, in the middle of the day, could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.

*Consider taking St Johnís wort. It is a popular herbal remedy available over the counter. There is some evidence that it is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.

*Visit somewhere with more light, BUT going on a holiday won't work. It seems that the contrast in light levels can do more harm than good sometimes.

......THE BOSS......

"Always be yourself because the people who mind don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind"


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