Karen Adam, a Scottish National Party (SNP) MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, has recently shared her views on why winter is not all about Christmas cheer, and how people can cope with the challenges of the season. In an article published by The National, she revealed her personal struggles with winter blues, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and depression, and offered some tips and advice for others who might be feeling the same way.
Winter blues and SAD are common and treatable
According to Adam, winter blues and SAD are common conditions that affect many people, especially in countries with long and dark winters like Scotland. She said that she has experienced both of them, and that they can have a significant impact on one’s mood, energy, motivation, and mental health. She described how she felt “low, lethargic, and hopeless” during the winter months, and how she struggled to get out of bed, work, socialize, and enjoy life.
However, she also emphasized that winter blues and SAD are treatable, and that there are various ways to manage them. She said that she sought professional help, and that she found medication, therapy, and light therapy to be helpful. She also said that she learned to accept her feelings, and to be kind and compassionate to herself. She encouraged others who might be suffering from winter blues or SAD to seek help, and to not feel ashamed or guilty about their condition.
Winter is not all about Christmas cheer, and that’s okay
Adam also pointed out that winter is not all about Christmas cheer, and that there are many reasons why people might not feel festive or joyful during this time of the year. She said that some people might have lost loved ones, faced hardships, or experienced trauma, and that they might find the holiday season to be stressful, lonely, or triggering. She said that some people might also have different beliefs, traditions, or preferences, and that they might not celebrate Christmas at all, or in the same way as others.
She said that it is okay to not feel cheerful during winter, and that people should not feel pressured to conform to the expectations or norms of society. She said that people should respect and support each other’s choices, and that they should not judge or criticize anyone for how they feel or what they do during this season. She said that people should also be mindful of their own needs, and that they should do what makes them happy and comfortable, whether that is celebrating, resting, or anything else.
Tips and advice for coping with winter challenges
Adam also shared some tips and advice for coping with the challenges of winter, based on her own experience and research. She suggested that people should:
- Try to get some natural light and fresh air every day, even if it is cloudy or cold. This can help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, boost the mood, and improve the immune system.
- Exercise regularly, even if it is just a short walk, a yoga session, or a dance break. This can help to release endorphins, reduce stress, and improve physical and mental health.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet, and avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, or sugar. This can help to provide the body with the energy and nutrients it needs, and to prevent mood swings, cravings, or crashes.
- Stay connected with friends, family, and community, either online or in person, depending on the Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines. This can help to reduce isolation, loneliness, and depression, and to provide support, comfort, and joy.
- Practice gratitude, mindfulness, and self-care, and find ways to express oneself creatively, such as through writing, painting, or music. This can help to cultivate a positive outlook, focus on the present moment, and nurture one’s well-being and happiness.
Adam concluded her article by saying that winter can be a difficult time for many people, but that it can also be a time of growth, reflection, and healing. She said that she hopes that her article can help others who might be feeling the same way, and that she wishes everyone a peaceful and healthy winter.