Are you feeling sad? Maybe it's "Seasonal Affective Disorder"

Did you know our menu is designed to make you happy?
View our new winter menu here:

Here's why it affects you and how to beat it

WINTER can be a time when many Australians struggle to adjust to the change of season. The chill in the air and the shorter, wetter, darker days can have an adverse effect upon our moods, our eating habits and our lifestyle. For some this can lead to the onset of anxiety and depression. Around one in 300 Australians will be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), a seasonal depression or mood disorder whose onset comes at the same time each year, often at the start of winter.

But there are ways to prevent it. It’s important to get natural sunlight, and vitamin D, in winter. To do so Psychologist Leanne Hall says Australians need to be prepared for the impact the changing seasons will have on them. “It is our natural instinct to hibernate,” she told News Corp Australia. “Ever since we were hunters and gathers we bunkered down over the colder months. It is how we are biologically wired. And its effects on our endorphins can be huge.”

Australians embrace an outdoor lifestyle, something that is easily accessed in the warmer months but becomes much harder to follow or enjoy in the middle of the year. In the colder, wetter months it can be harder to exercise (due to the shorter days and adverse weather or even our own lack of motivation), more difficult to eat well, because many fruits are out of season, harder to sleep and we spend less time exposed to natural light. But SAD, or seasonal depression, is more than just a dislike of winter and cold, wet weather. It is the diagnosis of depression or anxiety that requires treatment.

You can look at adapt your exercise routine to the winter months.

“It is not just a low mood or something that passes,” Ms Hall, who has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and over 15 years of experience, said.

“It is a clinical diagnosis and people who have already experienced depression or anxiety and its effects are those who are most vulnerable to it. Those people who are robust emotionally are unlikely to be affected by it.

“It can result in a complete lack of motivation, weight gain, irritability, a withdrawal from relationships with friends and family, a sense of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.”

However Ms Hall said preventive measures can be taken.

“Plan for the winter months and adapt,” she said.

“Be flexible, don’t fight the change of seasons. Keep exercising, just avoid that 5am bootcamp and head out a little later. Go to the gym instead of exercising outdoors. Plan around the weather and book a trip to the mountains, enjoy your time by the fire and go trail walking.

What you eat is also important. “Enjoy soups and curries,” Hs Hall said. Comfort food CAN be nutritious and Serotonin Eatery has just launched their brand NEW seasonal winter menu! Their menu’s all year round are high in tryptophan- which help stabilise your mood and keep your smiling.

Experts are not sure what causes SAD but the vitamin D our bodies source from the sun is believed to be a major factor, while research has proven that an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good food can help prevent anxiety and depression. The sun’s UV radiation is the best natural source of vitamin D, which is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood and is required for strong bones, muscles and good health.

It is believed vitamin D affects the level of neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the ‘happy chemical’ because it contributes to our happiness and well being. A lack of it can lead to a biological imbalance in the brain. Ms Hall said in some cases light therapy can work but it was important to be exposed to natural light.

If you believe you are suffering from SAD,

You can visit our friends at Soulpod Health & Healing

14 Stanley St,  Richmond VIC 3121

Call (03) 9421 0076 to make an appointment

Also official sites such as the Blackdog Institute and Beyond Blue are good reference points.

Otherwise we will see you at Serotonin Eatery for a happiness boost!

Book a weekday table or drop in on the weekends!

For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services,

please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

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