• Jo Yoga

Living with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

My greatest battle throughout January is not a financial one or weight loss and detox - it is staying happy.

I have been gifted with fighting my way through SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This means that without enough daylight, my brain constantly is preparing me for sleep, and the hypothalamus produces more Melatonin (the sleepy chemical) and less Serotonin (the happy hormone).

It is often described as a 'black cloud coming over you' - and that is exactly what it feels like.

I don't want to mix with people, I want to be in bed, my sex drive drops, I want to eat stodgy food (hello food guilt to add into the mix) and I genuinely feel inadequate, low and ....sad.

To a person living with SAD, it can appear that everyone else is excelling at life, because they have managed to get out of bed and function. A person with SAD struggles to do the most ordinary of things, and yet it is not accepted in today's society to just accept that 'oh it is because the sun isn't shining'.

We are beings of nature, not electricity, So our brains are built to respond to the outside events, so when the levels of daylight are lower, the weather is colder, our brain is telling us to go inside, keep warm and wait for the sun to come back.

But of course, unlike bears, we cannot hibernate for the whole of November & Jan/Feb (my tough months), we have to 'keep calm and carry on'.

Here are some Yoga ideas to help you stay healthy during the winter months.

Allow your brain to get the light it needs, I stop wearing sunglasses in mid October/early November and don't put them back on until March. I let my eyes be wide and absorb as much light into the brain as they can take.

Practice Surya Kriya. This powerful set, stimulates the solar plexus and creates heat in the body, shrugging of any winter sluggishness.

Right Nostril breathing - the right side of the brain is the action/sun energy side of the brain. Use your left index finger to close you left nostril and breath long and deep through the right nostril only for 3 minutes.

Sat Kriya, also a brilliant quick exercise to stimulate the energy at the base of the spine and the navel centre to 'power up the body' and mind.

A light box. I use this one and often just sit and have by breakfast in front of it and that is enough, I literally feel my brain waking up.

And finally, get plenty of sleep and rest.

If you suffer with this too, please get in touch and let me know. Let us lift the stigma on this very real condition.

Love through the darkness, xxx