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Autumn Blues: What Causes Them and What to Do About Them

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It's Autumn...
Why You Might Be Feeling Low

With the approach of Autumn we turn our thoughts to depression and SAD syndrome in this month's newsletter.

As we know, there are many triggers for depression. Sadness is a part of being human, a natural reaction to painful circumstances. All of us will experience sadness at some point in our lives. Depression, however, is a physical illness with many more symptoms than an unhappy mood.

People have a higher risk of depression if they’ve recently been through a stressful life event, if they’ve had depression in the past, or if a close family member has been depressed. Sometimes depression develops without any obvious cause.

A myth exists that says childhood is a joyful, carefree time in our lives. While children don't experience the same problems that adults do, like work-related stress or financial pressures, this doesn't mean that they can't become depressed. Childhood can bring its own unique set of stresses especially in these times where social media and peer pressure can contribute greatly.

Depression is a real, but treatable, illness (you are not weak or crazy!) which scientists believe is caused by imbalances in certain chemicals within your brain called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are thought to play an important role in regulating your mood as well as being involved in many other functions throughout your body.

Here are two common possible causes of depression at this time of the year:

SAD SYNDROME or SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

This is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the Autumn and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel depressed and moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. Many symptoms of SAD are similar to those associated with "ordinary" depression, such as anxiety, changes in mood and panic attacks. However there can be other symptoms such as anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness.

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

Many parents are also facing situation where their children are off to university for the first time. This can be very hard to adjust to and deal with especially for us Mums. It seems like just yesterday, you held your baby in your arms in the hospital. Now, your last child is leaving the nest and you’re not sure what to do with yourself.

It’s a normal feeling and, If you’re feeling overwhelmed and deeply saddened by your child moving out of the home, you might be experiencing empty nest syndrome.

With 18 or more years under your belt as a parent with a house filled with children, this can be a scary and emotional time in your life. Rest assured, the feelings you are experiencing now will fade as you grow accustomed to a quieter house and a life more focused on your own desires. However, if you are feeling like your life no longer has any purpose or meaning or you think your depression or anxiety might be worse you may need help.

...And How to Naturally Feel Better

Step back and take a good look at your life. What might be causing or exacerbating your depression? Is there anything you can do to minimise that cause?


Move about in the great outdoors. Nature and exercise both release happy endorphins, so get moving, even if it's just for 20 minutes a day.


Keep to regular meals. This maintains your blood sugar levels and reduces mood swings.
Eat foods to enhance your serotonin levels. High protein, healthy fats and food high in Omega 3, like oily fish, all help.


Kick your Coffee habit. Caffeine reduces serotonin.


Get some sunshine. Expose yourself to some rays to boost your Vitamin D. If you think you have 'SAD' Syndrome, invest in a therapeutic light box - here's the lowdown on light boxes from The Independent.


Meditate. Settling the mind in this way can really lift your mood.


Check your Hormones. Hormonal imbalances can be responsible for a low mood, or severe mood swings. Visit an understanding doctor and request some tests.


Keep it real. Aim to be yourself as much as possible in all areas of life. You might surprise people when you take your mask off, but it'll do you the world of good to stop pretending.


Talk it out with a therapist. Sometimes, just unburdening yourself can help, and this can also be a revelatory way to find out what's really bothering you.


Take our FILISA (Sutherlandia Frutescens). Little Herbal Company's natural supplement has helped thousands of people seeking relief from depression, and has been recommended by experts like celebrity life-coach, Marisa Peer. It's non-addictive, safe and gentle, and has no known side effects.


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