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Combatting The Symptoms Of SAD This Season

SAD can affect a third of Essex residents, so if you’re one of them, it’s important to know how you can feel a bit brighter this season.

It’s hard not to be in a great mood during the festive season, but once the holiday period has subsided and the cold weather of January hits, it’s unsurprising that local Essex residents feel a little blue. Around one in three Brits experience seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, and the condition is even more pronounced in women with 40% admitting that they feel the symptoms of this seasonal type of depression. These might include a persistent low mood, a lack of energy, craving unhealthy foods which lead to weight gain and a general loss of interest in activities they would usually enjoy. Winter comes every year, so there’s no getting away from it here in Essex, but there are plenty of ways to ease the symptoms and put a smile back on your face at the start of the year.

Learn To Smile More

One of the causes of SAD is down to a lack of serotonin production – this is a hormone that affects your mood and your ability to sleep well. Less sunlight is often responsible for lower serotonin levels, but there are other natural ways to improve your levels of this crucial hormone. One of them is to smile more! When we laugh or smile, the body is encouraged to create more serotonin, which goes a long way to enhancing a person’s happiness and wellbeing. Just like the age-old saying suggests, laughter really is the best medicine. However, for those who don’t feel confident about their grin, Essex Smile Centre notes that there are a number of affordable cosmetic treatments such as veneers, teeth whitening and implants to improve your personal appearance and get your smile back on track.

Get Moving

Every January, there’s a surge in people signing up for gym memberships, but a whopping £558 million is wasted in the UK each year by people who commit to the gym and then don’t go. 21% admit that they only go three times in a single year, meaning that the average visit costs them £188. Exercise is crucial in maintaining mental wellbeing and keeping symptoms of SAD at bay, but rather than being caught up in a gym contract, it would be far more beneficial to head outside to the great Essex outdoors. We’re spoiled for choice in terms of parks, rural landscape and trails to tread. Whether you’re interested in hiking, bootcamp style fitness or running, exercising in nature has many advantages over a gym studio, and one of them is exposure to more light. So, wrap up, head outside and get your body moving to receive even more of a serotonin boost and to get those endorphins pumping.

Keep Stress Under Control

Stress is a growing problem, particularly in the workplace, with Essex-based lawyer Lara Murray, of Palmers Solicitors noting that “The latest figures from the ONS show that workplace related illness is still a significant cause for concern and illustrates the fact that employers have a duty of care to ensure both the physical and mental wellbeing of its workers.”

Work is such a huge part of your life, and if you’re feeling snowed under or demotivated, then it’s important to make some changes – either by looking for a position elsewhere, or taking the necessary steps to approach HR within your organisation to improve your individual situation. Outside of the workplace, family life and relationships can also cause huge amounts of stress, so if you’re feeling overburdened, then it may be time to visit the GP to discuss stress management techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy to talk through the causes of your unrest.

The great thing about SAD is that it will subside once we embrace Spring here in Essex, but until then remember to take care of your physical and mental health to get 2019 off to a bright start.

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