Some people love the change of seasons, but for others the shift to less sunshine and cold weather can bring on the blues in a big way. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Unfortunately, I know a bit about this because well…. I am one of those people.
I often deal with a Blue Period that starts in September & subsides in early November. One of the diagnosis points with SAD vs depression is that it will occur for people annually at the same time every year. Interestingly, for some people it can even happen in the summer…..
Some other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder*:
Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness
Sleep: excess sleepiness, insomnia, or sleep deprivation
Behavioral: irritability or social isolation
So, now that we have some facts, let’s focus on the things we can do to ameliorate the blues for ourselves and for those we love who might be struggling. Here are some tips that help me get through:
1. EMBRACE HOW YOU FEEL
I know that sounds crazy but just go with me for a moment here …
Imagine this scenario -
A friend is feeling low and your response is to judge, criticize and blame them for being down in the dumps. Can you Imagine? Most people would never do that to someone we love!
However, for some reason, we tend to judge, criticize and blame ourselves for feeling sad. What if instead, we offered ourselves compassion like we would do for a friend who was down?
I have learned from experience that things become so much easier when I allow myself to see the SAD /Depression with a neutral mind. Instead of berating myself, I try to give myself permission to feel how I’m feeling. It opens the door for me to connect with the things that I can do to comfort myself.
2. BALANCE THE WORLD AROUND YOU
Ok, so it’s not always apropos to send a mass email to the entire office and say, “Hey! I’m dealing with SAD - so can you all leave me alone till spring?” BUT unfortunately we often still need to go thru our blue period and simultaneously deal with the world around us ….
I have found that it can be a balancing act to know when to allow myself to collapse / be real vs. healthy masking so that I can keep up in the real world. Allow the people whom you trust to understand and support you by explaining to them what is going on.
On that same note, honor the situations where you may have to keep up appearances like with a business client or with someone who may not be supportive. It helps me to limit those interactions, move at a slower pace when I’m in the race and give myself downtime to balance the energy I’m spending.
3. BABY STEPS TO BRING IN SOME LIGHT - BELIEVE YOU WILL #SHINEAGAIN
I find it’s helpful to remind myself, that I’ve been through this before and reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I have the strength to walk the journey again. I keep the faith that this will pass. Surprisingly? Each time, I find more courage and also uncover another piece of my soul. Going within is not always a bad thing. There is a magic in learning to connect more deeply with ourselves :)
Some other tips for SAD include:
- Increase Vitamin D
- Light therapy
- Medication to balance the lowered serotonin levels
- Find a trusted therapist / counselor or support group
Get some sunlight and exercise - I know they are the last things you might feel like doing - I find it helpful to team up with friends so I don’t bail ;)
You can also join our #ShineAgain community on Instagram. It’s growing each day!
Til Next Time, HUGS and BLESSINGS.