Lifestyle and Wellbeing Coach, Kate Moryoussef tells us all about seasonal depression and how to get spirits up in winter.
Hi Kate! For those who don’t know what seasonal depression is, can you tell us more?
Seasonal depression affects those who notice a low mood every year, just as autumn starts to creep in. It can manifest itself as feeling like you’re less resilient, low energy, less sociable, just feeling a little bit more sensitive to the world, and that can also look like impatience and intolerance around subjects you’d usually be capable of handling. You might also feel like you want to hide away from everything, so there is an element of depression.
To help recognise when seasonal depression is present people can take a diary of their mood, so they can maybe be a bit more intentional with regards to: ‘Okay, where’s my mood at when I’m spending more time indoors and I’m not able to get outside?’ and then they have the perspective to respond with: ‘What resources and tools do I have to help myself?’.
So what can we do in the wintertime?
We do know with modern science, holistic tools, and wellbeing tools that we can help ourselves by taking regular vitamin D every day. I would say every person in the UK should be taking vitamin D supplements depending on age and weight. Blue light lamps or sunlight lamps, people say can be very helpful if used for 10 minutes every single morning.
Getting up and making sure you are getting outside while it’s light and moving your body every day will be your most important tool, ensuring you’ve got the right weather appropriate clothes will really help you to achieve that in this country. Scandinavians have a saying: ‘There’s no wrong whether there’s just wrong clothes.’
Are there any changes to nutrition and supplements we could be taking?
I take magnesium every day, it’s really good for seasonal depression and I would highly recommend it because it’s great for the nervous system, for getting to sleep, and it calms anxiety and relaxes the body and the mind. I would also suggest taking vitamin B, C, and Zinc, anything you can do to help your immunity levels will really get you through the winter feeling strong.
In terms of food, it’s the time for enjoying seasonal veg which you can put into hot soups and stews. There’s a reason this food grows at this time of year, so enjoy that part of winter which is nourishing yourself with the stews, bread and pasta dishes – all things we’ve been craving. Stock up on the herbal teas and try and remove caffeinated and fizzy drinks after 1pm to help you sleep.
It doesn’t have to feel like restriction, winter is great for hot drinks like golden milk, (turmeric in hot milk), that’s really nourishing. Or natural cacao, which is like a healthy version of a hot chocolate, but it’s really good for you and therefore your mental health.
How can we embrace the colder months?
There are loads of things that we can look forward to in the colder months. We’re not going to have golden milk or hot cacao with a big hearty soup or a stew in August so these are things we can enjoy in winter and indulge in.
It’s all about changing the narrative and how we talk to ourselves because we can’t go against nature so we might as well work with it. Have a little think about ‘What can I do outside?’ can you take phone calls on a walk and meetings while you’re walking the dog? Can you make time for a walk in your lunch break or get off the bus a couple stops early? little things like that. Think: ‘I can work with this weather. It’s not my enemy. It’s how can we work together?’
Kate Moryoussef is the Host and Founder of ADHD Women’s Wellbeing in which she leads workshops and coaches women 1:1 about their ADHD to help them find self-compassion and acceptance. You can find more of her advice at: