It gets darker sooner and your summer wardrobe has finally withdrawn – fluffy sweaters are making a comeback.
For many people, the winter months can be difficult to navigate, with some suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The NHS says SAD is also known as “winter depression” because symptoms are usually more noticeable during the winter months.
It is a type of depression, and for those who are severely affected by the condition, it can make your daily activities a lot less difficult.
While the exact cause of SAD isn’t clear, experts say it could be due to a lack of sunlight during the winter months.
This is because a lack of sunlight can prevent part of the brain called the hypothalamus from functioning properly.
This is known to affect the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
It could also affect serotonin levels – which affects your mood, appetite, and sleep, as well as the body’s clock.
StressNoMore’s data analysts found 22,200 Google searches for SAD in October, a dramatic increase from 4,400 in August.
Some cases of the condition may be due to a person’s genes, but this is rare.
If you think you have SAD, you should see your GP. Here are the main symptoms of the condition.
This is likely due to a lack of serotonin which is linked to your mood.
A lack of sunlight can also lead to low levels of serotonin.
If you don’t bother doing the things you normally enjoy like reading, exercising, and watching TV, then you could have SAD.
Harry Roberts of My Favorite Cottages said it might help to plan things to look forward to.
He said: “There’s nothing like the feeling of going on vacation, wherever it may be.
“Our researchers recently discovered a keen interest in ‘winter holidays’ in late September when temperatures began to drop.
“This is hardly surprising when studies have shown that vacation promotes life satisfaction, improves our physical health, reduces stress, increases productivity and can even be more beneficial than relaxation techniques such as meditation.”
He added that spending time with your family and friends away from the stresses of reality could be helpful.
“A short trip this winter will give you new energy and productivity, and help you separate cold and dark days from negative emotions,” he added.
If things are bothering you a little more than usual, it could be a sign of SAD.
Experts at B-Well CBD said there are things you can do to help alleviate this feeling.
They stated, “Research has shown that vitamin D can play an important role in regulating mood and fighting off depression.
“We get vitamin D naturally from sunlight, so a nutritional supplement can help replace it in winter.”
A lack of sunlight can lead to lower levels of serotonin, which is linked to depression.
Treatment for SAD includes conversational therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling.