How to prevent SAD from affecting you and your business

Have you noticed a change in yourself due to the shorter days and colder weather? Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, could be behind it.

What is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. The NHS says it is most often experienced during the winter months, however you can occasionally experience the opposite.

Despite SAD being a recognised mental health disorder, nobody knows exactly what causes it. SAD can occur when our circadian rhythms change - these are our natural rhythms that govern our mind and body’s functions, including eating, sleeping, and more.

For many, the causes and symptoms are unique to your situation and person.

What are the symptoms of SAD?

SAD is most commonly identified by a loss of pleasure or interest in everyday tasks, such as working or socialising.

Other symptoms of SAD include:

  • comfort eating

  • feelings of anxiousness, emptiness, or sadness

  • irritability

  • lack of concentration

  • low mood

  • low libido

  • low self-esteem

  • no interest in physical contact

  • panic attacks

  • reduced interest in social occasions

  • sleep problems, including insomnia or sleeping longer than usual

How SAD affects entrepreneurs

For any kind of solo work, SAD can affect you more than most. Along with SAD, you may feel under pressure to meet deadlines, find new business, and generally keep your business afloat.

According to Mind, having SAD can also make you more prone to illness. In the winter months, this can mean bouts of cold, infections, or other illnesses that may stop you from working on your business.

SAD is very similar to burnout, in that it can result in a lower rate of productivity and put your business at risk.

How to prevent SAD from affecting you

We were prompted to post our guide to SAD after one of our entrepreneurs, Besma Whayeb, Copywriter and Blogger, shared her thoughts on SAD and how it affects her during the winter months.

Besma says “The colder weather means I don’t really want to go outside, and when I do, I’m always hurriedly trying to do everything before the sun goes down.

This in itself causes some form of anxiety, and again, a never ending list of activities that I should have done already.”

Despite much research into SAD, there’s no “cure”. Instead, we recommend doing the following to stave off any treatable affects and improve your symptoms:

  • Sleep eight hours per night, consistently throughout the week

  • Keep yourself warm and comfortable while working

  • Avoid stressful situations - the exercises in our Pocket Book may prove useful

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

  • Top up on vitamin D and magnesium using suitable supplements

  • Try to go outside at least once per day, during daylight hours

  • Exercise a few times per week

  • Build a support network - get started in the Calmer Professionals Group