Seasonal affective disorder: How to recognise and manage it
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes known as “winter depression”, is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern and is usually more apparent during autumn and winter. Common symptoms of SAD include a persistent low mood, a loss of interest in everyday activities, and feeling lethargic, stressed or anxious.
In support of World Mental Health Day (Sunday 10th October), we’d like to encourage you to take action in protecting your mental wellbeing as the colder, darker winter months arrive.
Here are a few things you could try:
- Get enough sunlight - Taking in as much natural sunlight as possible can be beneficial in boosting the serotonin levels in our bodies. Go for a short walk during the day, or if you’re unable to head outside, sit next to an artificial light box for 30 minutes a day, it can be just as effective as the real thing.
- Keep active - Exercising releases endorphins, which not only make us feel good, but can help to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. Head out for a stroll, practice gentle exercises like yoga or find fun activities to do at home.
- Stay connected - Spending time with loved ones, whether that’s virtually or face-to-face, can help to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. So, schedule a video call or organise a coffee date as being around other people can help boost our mood.
- Stick to a schedule - Sleeping and waking up at the same time each day helps to strengthen our body’s internal clock, making it easier for us to fall asleep. To achieve a good night’s sleep tonight and every night, make sure you maintain a regular bedtime routine.
How to manage seasonal affective disorder
To learn more about SAD and what else you can do to manage it, read the Bank Workers Charity’s guide.
Getting help and support
If you’re noticing persistent and unexplained changes in your mood, sleep or behaviour, try talking to a GP as soon as possible. The GP can carry out an assessment to determine whether you have SAD and advise you on any treatment, counselling or support you may need to help manage your symptoms.
If you work, or have worked, for a UK bank and would like to speak to someone, get in touch with BWC. Call their free and confidential Helpline on 0800 0234 834 - they’re open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm (except bank holidays). Or head to their website to speak with an adviser via their Live Chat.
- LBG’s Employee Assistance Programme (Validium): 0800 9700 100
- TSB's Employee Assistance Programme: 0800 0856 348
- Mind mental health charity: https://www.mind.org.uk/
- Bank Workers Charity: 0800 0234 834 — https://www.bwcharity.org.uk/
- Samaritans: 116 123 — https://www.samaritans.org/
- NHS 'Every mind matters': https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
- NHS (including 111): https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/
And remember, if you’re an Accord member and need a chat about support at work, call the helpline on 0118 934 1808.
All of our team of advisors have been accredited in Mental Health First Aid by MHFA England.
Read the next article Back to all articles