The days are shorter. The temperature is dropping, and suddenly you just don’t feel like yourself. It happens to many people every year around this time. It’s called SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a form of depression that presents when seasons change. Most commonly during the Fall and early winter.
As with any illness a persons symptoms can vary. The most common symptoms reported are:
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
Is It Real…
I could bore you with numbers and studies, BUT I believe experience can be the best teacher. In my experience SAD is very real. The lack of exposure to sunlight due to daylight savings along can have an effect on my mood. I constantly feel tired, and overwhelmed. Like there isn’t enough time in the day to complete tasks. The cold weather (though I enjoy it.) doesn’t help either. It makes me want to lounge around and eat lots and lots of bad for me food. These foods are usually loaded with sugar, carbs, and caffeine, all of which can cause major mood shifts.
How can you Deal…
Of course, everyone is different, but below you will find a list of things you can try that may help you cope during this time of year.
- Get out in the Sun as much as you can
- Add a vitamin D supplement to your diet
- Place more time in your schedule to rest
- Schedule an appointment with your therapist
- Journal your thoughts
- Eat more vegetables and fruit
- Get Active (Exercise is a natural anti-depressant)
- Be intentional about your environment staying positive
- Avoid negative spaces
- Be aware of triggers (topics of conversations, movies, music, holiday stress)
Give yourself a Break…
The major thing I do during this season is listen to my body. I make my health and myself a priority and I am proactive. It is imperative to communicate with family and friends about your needs, and I do that even more so during this time. Mostly I remind myself that it’s okay that I’m not always ok. I try to turn down my perfectionist tendencies, and allow myself to breathe a little more. Remember just because it is SAD season you do not have to be sad.