Natural Solutions for Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some of us are welcoming the cooler seasons, and the more relaxed times at home, they are able to embrace the darkness with flexibility and learn new cool hobbies such as crocheting an elephant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWbvl2VYziM) .
Yet others of us might feel more sad, anxious, and pessimistic, and find it a lot more challenging to get out of bed this time of the year. You might also find that you are prone to alternating between these two states, depending on your workload, menstrual cycle or life events.
Low moods, sadness, and depression can affect us all year round. But when we start to dread the winter months as early as August, already feel unmotivated to exercise by October, and have more serious symptoms of depression by November, then we might just fit the picture of what mental health professionals call Seasonal Affective Disorder (or Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern, according to the new DSM-5).
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder can include:
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- Lack of energy and sleepiness during the day
- Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased sex drive
According to the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/overview/) , Seasonal Affective Disorder is most probably caused by a lack of sunlight. This may sound like a simple explanation, but it is really not. Sunlight affects our whole body, including our melatonin and serotonin production (regulating our sleep and moods), and also our circadian rhythm. It is easy to see that those who already have lower levels of melatonin and/or serotonin, or those who regularly suffer from insomnia or are spending long hours at work without sunlight, can be severely affected by the above symptoms during winter.
Diagnosis from a holistic perspectiv
As holistic therapists, we do not diagnose. That is mainly because we do not need to. One of our mantras is that we treat the individual, and not their disease. Here is an example why. The way we see it, one person’s headache can be very different from another’s. You can have a headache starting at the bridge of your nose, at your temples, around the top of your head, or more toward the back of your head. You can have a headache with nausea or with photosensitivity. A headache that is made worse by moving your head, or by opening your eyes. A headache which is better from taking a walk outside. One which lasts for hours, a whole day, or even for days at a time. A chronic, periodical headache, set off by hormonal changes, or an acute one due to more simple causes such as dehydration.
As you can see, there are various different characteristics to headaches, and therefore many different definitions of what a headache really is. It is also important to note that headaches are not isolated events, they are part of the whole system. They are one of the many ways in which an organism can express and try to correct its imbalances. They are annoying for sure, sometimes even debilitating, but by no means are they a mistake of nature. From a holistic perspective, headaches alone are impossible to treat. Human beings, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. They can be treated, consoled, and helped, as the unique individuals they are.
The same principles apply to mental health issues, such as symptoms of depression. We are not trained and do not need to diagnose seasonal affective disorder to be able to help you with low moods over the winter. If you have a diagnosis, that is good for us to know of course, but we would still ask you the same questions we ask everyone else, for example: How does it feel? When does it usually start? What is it triggered by? What makes it worse? What makes it better? How does it affect different areas of your life? What is your diet like? What do you do to relax? What makes you fearful? What causes you stress? What makes you excited? What do you do for exercise?
Both Ayurveda and Flower Essence Therapy are holistic systems of healing. They take the whole person into account, with their medical and family history, with their mental, emotional and physical symptoms, with their dreams and aspirations. The more details we know of you, the more you can tell us about how it feels to have the symptoms you have, the more we understand your ‘’picture’’ and the easier it is to find the right remedies to support you.
Ayurvedic consultations arm you with a better understanding of yourself. When having a consultation with Marta, you will learn about your ayurvedic type, what activities and foods suit you, what puts you in a good mood, and what makes you feel low. Marta can aid you in finding your triggers, see what works and what doesn’t, and give you tips on how to look after yourself better. She can also help you with herbal and aromatherapeutic remedies and nutritional tips.
After an Ayurvedic consultation, clients often report a new-found sense of empowerment. They often feel that they better understand their body, mind and spirit. Finding out your dosha (Ayurvedic type) alone can already improve your mental health. We all have certain imperfections we might judge ourselves upon, and realising that a lot of those imperfections are parts of our natural design, can be a deeply healing experience.
Ayurvedic Consultations may also help in preventing low moods. If you already feel cold and run down, it’s advisable to experiment with new ways of strengthening your immune system. The ongoing goal of Ayurveda is to maintain a full, harmonious life, whilst embracing our individual uniqueness, regardless of the weather.
Flower Essence Consultations
Autumn and Winter are asking us to slow down, and that is important to recognise, to honour. But when we have a resistance to do less or feel pressured to keep on going with our busy work and life schedule, we can become inflexible to the seasons. According to Flower Essence Therapy, flexibility and adaptability to changes are the keys to healthy living. When we are too slow to adapt to a change in circumstances, symptoms can occur. The symptoms may present as unwanted thoughts and emotions, or can also manifest on the physical level.
Flowers have the power of moving us through life’s stumbling blocks with more ease and grace. They are here to remind us of nature’s cycles, of our own inner nature, and of the creative power within us. Their vibrational essence, which is what we use in this form of therapy, can help us move away from negative patterns of thinking and feeling. They act as cheerleaders throughout the year, but especially during the long and tiring season of winter.
During a Flower Essence Consultation, Anna looks at what parts of your life and your inner psychology feel heavy/stuck, and what negative emotions come up as a result of that. She will also take your physical symptoms into account. Then she will select three remedies for you, which she will talk through with you. You will be asked to take the remedies up to 4 times a day, for 3 weeks, and see what shifts. Some clients get really introspective during this process, journal or voice record their feelings, and make some minor (or sometimes major!) life changes as a result of their therapy. Others feel unnecessary to do that, and simply embrace the positive changes in their moods. There is no right or wrong way of receiving the remedies.
You can read more on Ayurveda here.
You can read more on Flower Essence Therapy here.
If you have any questions prior to booking, please don't hesitate to contact us
Marta - 07909513800 I email@example.com