In the bleak midwinter...
The darkness of winter is tough, especially for widows living alone. Here are a few hints and tips for making the winter feel more comfortable.
Someone once said to me to think of this time of year being when the seeds are in the ground waiting for spring. This helps me feel a bit more positive about the dark mornings.
Seasonal affective disorder
Many people get affected by changes in the seasons, but if the winter blues are lasting a long time and really affecting your life, you might have winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a low mood that gets worse in the winter. According to the NHS, symptoms of SAD (sometimes called winter depression) include:
Our sleep patterns, appetite, mood and activity are linked to levels of light, and for some people the levels of light in the winter just aren't enough. Lower levels of light can also affect our sleep-wake cycles. There a few things that might help:
Vitamin D may or may not help SAD, but the NHS recommends that people in the UK should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter.
If SAD is really affecting your life, talk to your GP. For some people, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, psychotherapy or antidepressants can help.
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I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.