Free shipping on domestic orders over £40

£0.00 0

No products in the cart.

Breathwork for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

As the seasons change and the days grow shorter, many people find themselves grappling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mood disorder, often called the ‘winter blues,’ can lead to various symptoms, including depression, fatigue, and a general sense of unease. While multiple treatments are available, one promising and accessible approach to managing SAD is breathwork. Here, we will explore the benefits of breathwork for SAD sufferers and provide practical tips to incorporate it into your daily routine. However, it’s essential to remember that while breathwork can be a valuable tool, you should always seek medical advice if you believe you may be experiencing SAD to explore a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Understanding seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Before delving into breathwork techniques, it’s essential to understand what seasonal affective disorder is and how it affects individuals. SAD is a type of depression typically occurring during the autumn and winter months when sunlight exposure decreases. Common symptoms of SAD include:

  1. Persistent sadness or low mood
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  3. Increased fatigue and sleep disturbances
  4. Changes in appetite or weight
  5. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  6. Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  7. Social withdrawal and decreased activity

The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood. Still, it is believed to be related to reduced sunlight exposure, which can disrupt circadian rhythms and affect the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin.

Breathwork as a SAD management tool

Breathwork involves deliberate control of one’s breathing patterns to influence physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It has gained popularity as a tool for managing stress, anxiety, and mood disorders, including SAD. Here’s how breathwork can help individuals cope with SAD:

  1. Stress reduction: Breathwork techniques activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol; this can help alleviate the heightened stress and anxiety often associated with SAD.
  2. Improved mood: Deep, intentional breathing stimulates the release of endorphins, our body’s natural mood lifters. Regular breathwork sessions can elevate mood and counteract feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  3. Enhanced energy levels: SAD often leads to fatigue and lethargy. Breathwork can oxygenate the body more efficiently, increasing energy levels and combating feelings of tiredness.
  4. Better sleep: Disrupted sleep patterns are a common symptom of SAD. Breathwork practices, particularly those focused on relaxation, can help individuals achieve better sleep, improving overall mood.
  5. Increased mindfulness: Breathwork promotes mindfulness, the practice of staying present and non-judgmentally aware of your thoughts and feelings; this can help individuals better understand and manage their SAD symptoms.

Breathwork techniques for SAD

Now that you understand how breathwork can benefit individuals with SAD, let’s explore some simple techniques that you can incorporate into your daily routine:

  1. Deep belly breathing: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your stomach fall. Repeat for several minutes, focusing on your breath.
  2. 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat this cycle at least three times.
  3. Alternate nostril breathing: Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Using your thumb, block off your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. After a full inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger and release your right nostril, exhaling entirely through it. Inhale through your right nostril, then switch and exhale through your left. Continue this cycle for a few minutes.
  4. Box breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and pause for a count of four before repeating. This technique helps regulate your breath and calm your nervous system.
  5. Guided breathwork meditations: Numerous guided breathwork meditation sessions are available online and through meditation apps. These sessions can lead you through various breathing techniques and provide a structured approach to breathwork.

Incorporate breathwork into your daily routine, ideally in the morning and evening, to reap the maximum benefits for managing SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder can be challenging to navigate, but practical tools are available to help individuals cope with its symptoms. Breathwork is a valuable addition to the arsenal of SAD management strategies, with its ability to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels. Remember, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you believe you may be experiencing SAD.

For a more tips on autumn self-care, click here. Remember to watch for new self-care and breathwork rituals with us at @surrender_to_happiness. If you want more information on the differences between breathwork and meditation, click here and click here for a more in-depth look at alternative nostril breathing. For more information on yoga and breathwork for beating the winter blues, click here. Finally, if you would like to enhance your self-care this season, take a look at our blog on crystal bathing.

Spread the love