What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder And How Can You Combat It?

Cold weather, excessive heating bills and leaving the office in the pitch black. Yep you guess it, winter's officially here.

If you've got a serious case of the winter blues, then chances are you could be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (otherwise known as SAD).

SAD can cause all manner of health issues including severe depression and extreme fatigue. Bizarrely, it can also cause cravings for carbohydrates.

According to this video from Newsy, there are various ways that winter depression can affect you. From struggling to maintain relationships, to an increase in risk behaviours such as taking drugs or excessive alcohol consumption.

It can have a big impact on your life and can even affect your ability to make sound choices.

While it might seem like you're constantly stuck in a downward spiral once winter hits, there are ways to combat winter depression:

:: 15 minutes of sunshine can help you to feel better and can improve the quality of your sleep. It can also lower your blood pressure and provide vitamin D.

:: Where sunshine isn't accessible (ahem England) then light therapy is equally as effective.

:: Exercise can also provide a much needed boost. One hour of exercise can have the same effects as two hours of light therapy. Let's hear it for star jumps.

:: Take multivitamins.

:: Keep busy and plan activities. During the winter it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go outdoors. But it's really important to do this and can help you feel better.

:: Use it as a last resort, but if you feel like you cannot cope then speak to your doctor who can prescribe anti-depressants.

Do you suffer from SAD? What helps you to stay upbeat during the winter? Tweet us @HuffPoLifestyle

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10 Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder