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Forums / Staying well / Tips for getting up in the morning + combatting seasonal affective disorder?

Topic: Tips for getting up in the morning + combatting seasonal affective disorder?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    29 May 2020

    Hello! Asking for some advice on two topics (that are closely related)-

    recently I've been struggling to wake up in the morning. I often find myself snoozing my alarm and hiding under my covers, even if I've gotten 8 hours of sleep! I feel like no matter how much sleep I get , I always feel super tired when I wake up and struggle to get out of bed. Once I do eventually get out of bed and have breakfast, brush my teeth, etc, the tiredness slowly goes away... but I spend a good hour (sometimes more) everyday trying to get out of bed. I find that it usually affects my mood for the rest of the day, which brings me to my next issue...

    Seasonal affective disorder. I've struggled with it every winter for the past couple years and I've never really figured out how to deal with it. The only piece of advice I've been given is to get a light therapy lamp but I'm quite reluctant to spend money on something I'm not convinced will make much of a difference. I feel so unmotivated and sluggish most days and generally unhappy. It makes sense that I struggle waking up in these colder times. But I hate that I feel this way!

    I would appreciate some tips on how to wake up in the mornings, and how to ease seasonal depression. I'm sick of feeling miserable this time of year, I wish I could have more fun and make good memories in these winter months like I do in summer.

  2. Jesicca
    Jesicca avatar
    47 posts
    29 May 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower
    Hey Spontaneous Sunflower (love your username by the way, it brought a smile to my face).

    I've had similar experiences with SAD and have noticed myself struggling to get out of bed now that it's a bit colder. Something I find helps me a lot is not going on my phone when I wake up in the morning because I start to get bored just lying there with my eyes open. I still struggle some days but this has definitely helped me jump out of bed a bit quicker than when I lay in bed on my phone (I'm not sure if this is something you do). Next, the first thing I do once out of bed is put some extra clothes (socks and a jumper) on to warm up out of the comfort of my quilt and then I open my blinds to let natural light in. Then I do a few stretches and honestly the mornings that I do this I feel SO much better after this little 5 minute routine. Then I head into the kitchen and have a really big glass (like 600ml) of warm water (half puratap and half from a boiled kettle) and put a bit of freshly squeezed lemon water. This warms me up and wakes me up as opposed to having coffee which I personally get a crash from later in the afternoon. It's also good to hydrate your body after sleep. Something that's been working for me lately is to then go for a 5-30 minute walk around the block depending on whether it's raining because honestly even a 5 minute walk helps me and I feel that getting out into the fresh air and sunlight is a great way to start the day and I end up wanting to walk for a bit longer most day even if it's raining a tiny bit (I make sure to wear a hat and warm jacket if it is). Once I'm back i'll make a warm bowl of oats for breakfast and I eat it outside. I eat all meals outside if it's not raining or absolutely freezing and I don't do anything else (eg. watch tv or go on my phone) while I eat because it lets me have a bit of time in nature and also lets me focus on the foods i'm eating so that I actually can listen to my fullness signals instead of eating the whole meal without paying attention and feeling really hungry still and turning to highly processed and sugary foods which ultimately make me feel worse when i'm experiencing a low mood already. This is easier said than done and some days I do better than others, i'm still learning to accept that i'm growing and learning this process and try not to be too hard on myself when I don't do these things and just remind myself I can try again tomorrow and try to take it easy for the rest of the day.
    1 person found this helpful
  3. fred4761
    fred4761 avatar
    122 posts
    30 May 2020 in reply to spontaneous sunflower

    Hi there, I too suffer from SAD (well, I suffer from depression year round but find it is worse over Autumn and Winter).

    A couple of things that have helped me are to try and get some sunlight and fresh air first thing in the morning for at least half an hour. I used to feel so cold going outside over Winter until I bought myself some gloves, a beanie, scarf and thermal underwear. It might seem a bit over the top but I am so much more likely to go outside and to stay outside when I am wearing warm clothes. A few years ago I ended up purchasing a 10,000 lux light from Amazon and try to use that for 30 minutes on days when there isn’t any sunshine or if it is too hard to go outside (some days feel like that). I find that it isn’t as effective as being outside in the sun but it does make me feel a little more awake and energised than if I don’t use it.

    My psychiatrist suggested getting my vitamin levels tested and it turned out I was low in vitamin D so he recommends supplementing this over the cooler months. My levels were in the normal range when tested over Summer. Maybe this is something you could check with your GP about.

    Hope these suggestions help. Know that you are not alone and try to go easy on yourself.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    1 June 2020 in reply to Jesicca

    Hey Jessica!

    Thank you so much for your lovely reply! You've given me heaps of helpful tips that I'll definitely give a go! When it was a bit warmer a couple months ago I enjoyed eating my breakfast outside like you mentioned doing, it definitely helped me focus on what I was eating and gave me time to just relax and be present, rather than getting caught up on social media or whatever. I haven't been eating outside as often recently because it's so cold, but after reading your reply and remembering how much I enjoyed eating outdoors when it was warmer, I'm going to try it again. I'll have to put on some warm clothes and then I'll have no excuse not to go outside! :D

    All your tips about getting up in the morning was really helpful too. I'm going to start putting my phone across my room so when my alarm goes off, I'll have to get up to switch it off and because I'll be up, it'll give me a chance to open my blinds and put some socks on.

    Not sure where you're from, but I live near Melbourne, so winter is quite cold and rainy. As I'm typing this, it's currently pouring! I kind of like the rain but I hate how frequent it is in winter, it discourages me from going outside as much as I usually would on sunnier days. It looks like it's going to be quite a cold and wet winter, but hopefully implementing some of your tips, I'll get through it alright!!

    I hope it's not too cold and rainy where you are, and hopefully you're keeping warm! Thanks for replying, hope everything goes well for you!

  5. spontaneous sunflower
    spontaneous sunflower  avatar
    48 posts
    1 June 2020 in reply to fred4761

    Hello! Thanks for replying!

    I think I need to get my beanies and scarves out so I can brave the cold! I really enjoy being outdoors, I do most of my exercise outdoors (not a huge fan of going to the gym or any indoor exercise like that). So it's hard in winter when it's so cold and wet and it discourages me from going outdoors, but I think for the sake of my mental health I really ought to rug up and get out there even if it's freezing, because being outside in the fresh air is so important to me!

    I hope you're doing well and staying warm, thanks for all the advice :)

    1 person found this helpful

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