If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the autumn and winter months, you certainly aren’t alone. The shorter daylight hours and therefore the reduced levels of sunlight that we’re exposed to are thought to be the cause of this condition.
Ultimately, if you struggle with SAD at this time of the year, you’re likely to experience symptoms similar to non-seasonal depression. These include lethargy, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety.
Speaking to Stylist Magazine, Pablo Vandenabeele, clinical director for mental health at Bupa UK, explained that this winter in particular could be challenging for our mental health with more people than ever working from home.
He explained that not only could the change to our routines have an impact on our mental health, but also the fact that we’re spending less time outdoors if we’re not commuting to and from work.
Although Mr Vandenabeele explained that there are many reasons why working from home could make SAD more severe, there is one main factor to consider.
“Mainly, it’s because we’re no longer leaving the house for things like our lunch break or our commute; many people who suffer with SAD find that getting out makes them feel more energised - even if only for a short stroll - and even through the clouds, the daylight can help to boost your mood,” he asserted.
One of his top pieces of advice, therefore, is to create a new routine when you’re working from home that includes going outdoors, even if it’s only for a short walk at lunch time.
He added that as well as getting some sunlight, this is also a good way to take a break from your digital devices.
Among the other tips Mr Vandenabeele offered were to brighten up your workspace, both by making sure you introduce as much daylight as possible and through the likes of plants and flowers, as well as eating a healthy diet.
If you know you typically suffer from SAD and are concerned that working from home could exacerbate this, reach out for support from a mindful therapist online.
As the US Center for Mindful Psychotherapy noted in its blog last winter, practicing mindfulness in various areas of your life can help you cope with SAD.
For instance, the organisation noted that creating a daily or weekly practice that means something to you can be particularly useful.
This could include meditating, walking in nature, crafting or playing music. What’s important is that the practice you create is one that you will enjoy and that helps ground you. Finding ways to bring more fun and joy into your life can also be useful tools to help you alleviate feelings of sadness and anxiety associated with SAD too.
Hypnotherapy can give you tools that you can use in your daily life to help you deal with a variety of mental health challenges, including SAD.
Knowing about some simple steps you can take to boost your mood can be incredibly helpful, especially if you feel that working from home could impact your mental health in the months ahead.