I haven’t come across too many pre- or post-op patients bouncing with energy at this the tail end of January – could it be lack of sunlight, low vitamin D levels or more? Check out the guest post below for some possible answers and solutions …
GUEST POST: Dr Clare Bailey says: ‘Most of us are affected by the seasons, feeling cheerful and energetic when the sun shines and more lethargic and perhaps a bit low when the days are short and winter sets in.
‘For some, this can be more severe. During a particular season or time of the year they withdraw, lack motivation, crave carbohydrates, gain weight and feel down. This is often known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
‘As a GP, I see lots of people suffering from depression and suspect that in the winter months SAD is probably under-recognised.
‘Getting out in the daylight, especially in the morning (and ideally combined with a bit of exercise), resets your melatonin levels and improves sleep. It also helps lift your mood.
‘Light therapy – sitting near a bright light usually of the blue spectrum, again particularly in the morning, can help. And dawn stimulation alarm clocks, which gently turn up the natural light, are increasingly popular.
‘Antidepressants prescribed by your GP (usually an SSRI) can help. Cognitive behavioural therapy also works to improve depression by focusing on strategies to improve mood and redress negative patterns. Referral is via GP or by contacting your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Services (in the UK).
‘Practising mindfulness, a popular form of relaxation and meditation which reduces stress and decreases a tendency to ruminate about worries, is increasingly shown to be effective (try the Headspace app).
‘It’s worth considering whether symptoms are due to low vitamin D levels.
‘Try to get some sunlight and eat more foods rich in vitamin D such as oily fish like salmon and tuna and egg. And eating together with friends or family is likely to boost your joie de vivre too.
‘Cod liver oil or vitamin D supplements are also a good option. A blood test to check vitamin D levels may be needed, particularly if you have darker skin or little sun exposure.’
Vitamin D-Lux Oral Spray Supplement (details here)
Feature courtesy of waitrose.com