As the dark mornings and nights continue to roll in, people may start to find that they are suffering with low energy or struggling with low moods, which could be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise known as SAD or Winter Depression) is something that affects many people without them even realising it.

At CEL Solicitors we recognise the importance of good mental health and have designated mental health first aiders to support our staff. To ensure we prioritise this activity our mental health first aiders have spearheaded ‘Wellness Wednesday’, an initiative in which they share information and tips on issues that our employees, or indeed clients, might be affected by, including SAD.

Symptoms of SAD (and general depression) can include:

– A persistent low mood
– A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
– Irritability
– Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
– Feeling lacking in energy and sleepy during the day
– Sleeping for longer than usual and finding it hard to get up in the morning
– Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

Causes of SAD and tips to combat it:

It’s thought that SAD can be caused by a lack of sunlight during the winter months which can affect the production of melatonin and serotonin in the brain causing low moods, sleep disruption and over-eating.

Generally, it is believed that most people will suffer only mild symptoms and the NHS suggests that the following steps can be taken to try to balance out the chemicals in our brains:

– Use of light therapy to mimic sunlight and trigger chemical production
– Exercise to increase chemical production
– Managing stress levels

A word from Jasmine, one of our mental health first aiders, and some further help for people suffering with SAD:

Jasmine, an associate solicitor & assistant COLP at CEL Solicitors, is one of our mental health first aiders. Commenting on SAD, she said: “If you are struggling with more severe symptoms of SAD or general depression, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your GP to explore suitable treatment programmes. This might involve talking therapies via Talk Liverpool or anti-depressant medication.

“It is also important to remember that there is no shame in struggling and there are various treatment options available which may help you. Generally speaking, mental health issues tend not to go away on their own and so I would encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out for help if they feel they may be affected by anything”.

If anyone would like to read up further on SAD or general depression, NHS information can be found here:

SAD: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/overview/

Depression: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/