It’s odd what a difference a change in the weather can make.
It’s late May and here in the UK the weather has improved. The sun is shining and everyone seems to be walking around smiling.
I’ve noticed a difference as I head to work in a morning. People seem to be in a better mood than they were weeks ago, almost like they’re happy to go to work. Even I have a bit more of a bounce to my step as I get off the bus.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is often linked with the time of year, especially tied in with the amount of sunlight we receive. It often seems to be predominant in the Autumn and Winter months, lessening over the Spring and Summer as the weather improves and the days get longer. Although the cause of SAD isn’t fully known, it’s thought that the amount of sunlight we have affects the hypothalamus part of the brain. Sufferers find they have an increased production of melatonin and a decrease in serotonin in the darker parts of the year. This can be quite significant as increased production of melatonin makes a person feel sleepy, whilst serotonin helps improve your mood, appetite and sleep. Lower serotonin levels are often found in people suffering with depression.
But it’s not just a case of better weather improving everyone’s spirits. It’s not the cure all we would hope it would be. I know a couple of my friends are really struggling at the moment, no matter how much the sun shines. If that was the case sunnier countries would have significantly lower rates of depression. But they don’t.
One of the good things about better weather is we can get out a bit more often. Being able to get out and stretch your legs might seem a little clichéd, but it seems to work. Exercise releases endorphins into your body which will help improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be a run or an intensive session at the gym. According to the NHS website, it suggests that adults should participate in about 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. That’s only two and a half hours out of your life a week. There’s plenty of suggestions up on the NHS website again here Activity Guidelines For Adults.
We’ve got a long weekend coming up. Rather than spending the time getting drunk or recovering from it, how about heading through to the coast and enjoy some fresh air? Go for a walk in some woods. Grab a bike and go for a ride. Hiding away in the house won’t help you, it’ll just keep you in the position where you fester away (I know my partner will find me saying this quite ironic as she’s always cajoling me to go out more). Getting out will help improve your health. Hell, it might even inspire you to do something else, push yourself that little bit more. We spend too long hiding away in our comfort zones. We need to try and do something to make things better and only you can do that. Only you can improve yourself. Think of the moments of positive change you can affect in yourself and in others.
I’m ready to get out there and push myself. Are you?
The title of this edition of the blog comes from the Fishbone song ‘Everyday Sunshine’. You can find the video for it on YouTube here Fishbone – ‘Everyday Sunshine’
As usual if you’d like to chat to me drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Also, I’ve created a closed support group on Facebook, also called The Order Of The Dog. It’s set up for people with mental health issues to talk as well as people who want to support others. Nobody can see what gets posted there apart from other members, so feel free to join. Finally, please feel free to share this blog with anyone or anywhere you think it might help.
The Order Of The Dog