Friday, 25 November 2011

How To Beat The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or more commonly known as SAD, or the "winter blues", is a form of winter depression that currently effects approximately 7% of the population every winter between the months of September and April.

The condition is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus as a result of decreased daylight hours and lack of sunlight during the winter months. This lack of light can lead to symptoms of SAD occurring in some people, such as:

- Depression

- Sleep problems

- Lethargy

- Over-eating

- Loss of concentration

- Social problems

- Anxiety

- Loss of libido

- Mood changes

If you notice that you are experiencing a variety of these symptoms during the winter months in particular, then you may be suffering from SAD.

The majority of people with SAD will also show signs of having a weakened immune system, thereby making them more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.

Subsyndromal SAD, or the "winter blues", is a less severe version of the condition, including the symptoms of tiredness, lethargy and sleep and eating problems, but depression and anxiety tend to be absent or mild. A further 17% of the population suffer from this form of SAD.

Suffering from SAD is an unpleasant experience for many, and the majority of people won't even realise that they have it. Even if you think you may be experiencing SAD, there are treatments available that can make your Christmas a happier one!

The main treatment for SAD is light therapy, which enables your body to get the essential light and vitamin D it needs. However, light therapy is not currently funded by the NHS and can be an expensive form of treatment.

If you cannot afford such treatment, then why not try the following self-help treatments that are guaranteed to make you feel better in no time:

- Exercise outdoors if possible - this can be something as simple as walking yours or a neighbour's dog. The dog will love it and so will you!

- When the sun does shine, get out there as you will still get the essential vitamin D. We have some beautiful clear blue winter days.

- Prepare for winter by lining up some projects that can be completed during the winter months, such as online course/distance learning that will keep you busy and focused. You could also read that favourite book of yours, improve your cookery skills, invite friends around for dinner, or even - dare I say it - spring clean!

- Book a cheap winter holiday in the sun by registering with something like Travelzoo or Dealchecker. These companies trawl the holiday bargains each week and let you know by weekly email but you can log in anytime to find out what’s on offer – last week they offered a £299 all inclusive week in the Canaries - bargain!

So there are many ways of reducing symptoms of SAD, but if you feel you may be suffering from the condition, the first thing you should do is consult your doctor. Don't let SAD get you down this winter!

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Friday, 11 November 2011

What Makes You Spark and Sparkle?

Once you have established your own personal footprint of core values, you can then quite easily work out what to do more of and, what to avoid.

Some examples of typical core value are;

Respect, adventure, imagination, contribution, trust, vitality, experience.

In essence, if these words conjure up a feeling of true and meaningful depth for you, or perhaps move you in some way, you are beginning to find out what really matters for you.

This will begin to create a happier you, a happier life and will enable you to build up your emotional strength to deal with the rotten stuff when it happens.

We spend a lot of our time "doing" for others, and so it is easy to lose sight of who we are!

If you would like a full set of the core values please email me on with 'Values' as the title.

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