Coaching for SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder)
Now that the clocks have gone back and the days are a lot shorter, I am sure most of us can’t help but feel a bit down, especially when it gets dark and gloomy. But for an estimated 7% of the UK population that feeling can lead to real ‘winter blues’ or SAD.
What is SAD?
SAD is a type of depression (mild to moderate or severe) that has a seasonal pattern, usually beginning in autumn as the days get shorter, and is most common through the winter months.
The cause is thought to be associated with the seasonal light changes, short days and poor weather, along with our hectic lifestyles. As a result we don’t get the appropriate light cues which control our internal cycles or ‘Circadian rhythms’ and as these regulate our mood, sleep, appetite and energy we can feel out of balance.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are:
- low mood for most of the day
- loss of interest in your usual activities
- drowsiness and indifference (lethargy)
- needing more sleep and sleeping more than usual
- eating more than usual
- loss of interest in sex
- mood swings and extra energy in spring and summer
If you have these symptoms in the winter months, but are not depressed the rest of the year and this pattern has been repeated for 2 or 3 years, it is possible you have SAD and should see your GP.
How can I help myself?
Both light therapy and medicines can help with SAD, however there are other ways to help yourself:
- try to find time each day to get outside
- sit near windows when you are inside
- take regular, moderate exercise or physical activity
- eat a well-balanced diet
- decorate your home in light colours
- Avoid stress as much as possible and learn relaxation techniques
How does Coaching help?
Coaching, along with other talking therapies, can make a huge difference to people suffering from mild or moderate SAD.
On a programme for coaching people with depression, a coach would work with you to:
- Recognise how the SAD was affecting your current life, in terms of health, family, relationships, work and happiness.
- Identify specific areas to improve and what that improvement would look like
- Support and motivate you to work through specific NLP exercises or CBT techniques to make changes to your thoughts and behaviours
- Keep in contact with you so you don’t feel alone
- Celebrate with you, your achievements
If you’re concerned about SAD in the next few months a suitable coach can help you.
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