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Data analysts at StressNoMore discovered a whopping 22,200 Google searches for Seasonal Affective Disorder in October, a dramatic increase from 4,400 in August. The condition is said to affect roughly two million people in the UK. However, the change of seasons is not the only time for many to suffer with a dip in moods as the build up to the festive period is known to trigger many symptoms of stress and for some, low mood. Two experts discussed their tips and advised how to combat these symptoms.
Health and Wellbeing Expert Stephanie Taylor spoke about the importance of when to wake up which can have a major effect on your overall mood.
“During the winter months, early morning starts can be a struggle,” she began.
That’s because the body produces more melatonin (the sleep hormone) when it’s dark, so during the early hours there’s a lack of light to suppress and stop its production, resulting in a sluggish start.
“Set yourself goals, opting to wake up during REM sleep or one minute earlier each day – slowly lowering your alarm time will make it easier for your body to adjust.
“Also consider buying a wake-up light to help ease the morning struggle.
“The soft white LED light can help tackle the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder by creating the perfect light intensity, triggering a chemical change in the brain responsible for lifting your mood.”
Bert Petersen, associate professor at Saint Barnabas health system said: “During the build up to the holiday stress can rise tremendously for many.
“Stress regarding money or family issues can also be unrecognised but there is a lot of damage occurring inside the body.
“Symptoms of stress can show itself by poor sleep, moodiness, irritability which can in turn affect the body.
“Conditions such as stomach and back aches, and weight gain can occur with more serious health concerns such as cancer, migraines, heart disease, hypertension and a variety of immune disorders.”
“It’s important to look after your mental wellbeing all year round, but self-care is vital during the colder months,” added Taylor.
She continued: “Try and limit your stress levels by taking regular breaks to help restore energy and decrease fatigue.
“Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or treat yourself to a pamper day.
“While it can be costly to go out and get a massage or facial, there are cheaper alternatives such as investing in a massage pillow to work out any tension or a relaxation device to calm your anxiety.
“And above all, make sure to listen to and express your emotions.
“You can do this by journaling, talking to loved ones or even a professional.”
Doctor Petersen also discussed the importance of communication and how this can help reduce symptoms of stress.
“Communication is one of the most effective tools in helping to reduce your stress levels as interacting with others allows you to avoid your interpretation of what is going on in your head and live more in the present.
“Often, people’s added pain and stress is that they live in the past, adding on different stories to what is going on, making the problem bigger and also having preconceived notions about particular things.
“By communicating effectively, you can separate from interpretation and avoid feeling isolated.
“The holiday season is the most important time for communication.
“By telling people how you feel you can form better connections and as such create a new future.”
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