What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how does it affect you?

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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how does it affect you?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of short-term depression that affects three out of every ten individuals throughout specific seasons throughout the year, primarily during the winter months when there is a shortage of sunshine. However, some are affected by the condition in the summer as well.  

Hormone levels (melatonin and serotonin) in the region of the brain that controls general mood are affected. Those with the condition may experience a lack of energy, difficulties concentrating, emotions of wanting to withdraw from work, burnout, melancholy, guilt, or hopelessness in the job.

How can you help employees who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Businesses around the country are becoming more conscious of mental health issues and are introducing a variety of programmes and services to assist employees, including those coping with SAD. It’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. Here are some suggestions for making simple modifications in the workplace to help employees with SAD and encourage excellent mental health.

Tea and conversation

Set up a weekly tea and conversation meeting for teams and departments outside of their normal break hours. We recommend holding this meeting in a comfortable setting (find a nice outdoor space if the weather is nice), but if your team is remote, you can also hold it online. Grab some biscuits and a hot beverage, and talk about something unrelated.

Starters for a discussion:

  • Discuss their interests.
  • Discuss their plans for the weekend or after work.
  • Inquire about any new books, films, or television programmes that made them grin today.
  • Recipes and cuisines that they enjoy

Make a mental health first responder team.

Enlist one (or more, if you have a large staff) to serve as your Mental Health First Aider. In the event of a physical medical emergency, all firms have first aiders, but few have a Mental Health First Aider that employees can talk to and confide in. By offering peer-to-peer network assistance within your company, you’re establishing a climate where people can talk about whatever challenges they’re experiencing, including the impact of SAD on their job performance.

How may Cognitive Behavioral Therapy help those who are dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

In addition to the proactive efforts indicated above that companies may take to assist employees in combating Seasonal Affective Disorder, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most important therapies for coping with and recovering from sadness and anxiety.

  • SAD sufferers can learn to recognise the symptoms and how they impact them, such as an intense urge to sleep and eat.
  • It’s quite beneficial to increase your light exposure. If you can’t get outside, SAD LED/blue light therapy lights that mimic natural light are a great alternative.
  • To keep brain hormone levels in check, eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • Stress management – A combination of tight work demands, personal difficulties at home, and SAD may cause your stress levels to skyrocket. Include ‘time out moments,’ where you recognise and, if feasible, remove yourself from conflict, friction, and worry. Try CBT coping skills like active problem solving, breaking activities down into little pieces, and delegating work to someone else.

Find out how HealthBoxHR’s Mental Health Management tool can help your business  and oversee & support your employee mental health.

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