Feeling SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the daylight hours shrink so might your optimistic outlook on life. As the summer months fade it is common for your energy levels to decrease welcoming back your old friend (note, sarcasm intended) seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Its affects vary from mild to severe, but it’s quite common for yu to get hit with a case of the blues as the seasons change.

You may just be sensitive to the seasons or you could have a psychological anchor to something from you past which took place at a particular time of year that prompts your singing the blues every time the environment resembles the time of the season that something that caused a prolonged sadness, disappointment, loss or other tragic life challenge.

Rates of depression generally increase reaching the heights (the number of depressed individuals increase while their healthy states of minds decrease) of blueness right around the holidays. This we know, if you can hang on, you can make it through this period of time when you’re not feeling so exuberant about life.

Besides depression, other markers of seasonal affective disorder include trouble sleeping (which could range from not being able to sleep to sleeping a lot but never feeling rested), lack of energy, and your feelings can be “right there” having you on the verge of emotional outbreak or upset just waiting for the slightest triggering.

Other symptoms include weight gain due to increased carb intake, as well as other tendencies to self-medicate. Also, when you’re not feeling on your game, your family and social relationships can suffer and as your immune systems declines, you are more susceptible to seasonal illness, cold and flu.

Your life has seasons, just like the world where we live does, but you don’t have to let it get to you. First of all, if you’re on a track of doing certain things to make your life better and have made commitments to yourself or someone else to do things on a regular basis, by all means, keep doing them.

There are things you can do to improve your mood to help give you the energy you need, like getting outside. I know, it’s not nice, like it was during the summer, but find joy in getting out, taking a brisk walk and breathe the fresh air. Let it flow throughout your circulatory system. This is good work. Bundle up according to the weather conditions. It will feed your cells and you will feel better (even if it is a little less pleasant than a summer stroll).

There is a lot to be said about not being cooped up inside, so if you’re feeling restricted, then un-restrict yourself and get out of the house. Go to the (I know, if you can still find one) library, go “window shopping” (you don’t have to buy anything). There are lots of places you can peruse which are open to the public and may be accessed at no charge.  Take out some time to visit with family and friends.

Put yourself on a positive track by setting up regular visits with a counselor, coach, therapist, or member of clergy, who can help you turn this difficult time into a masterful piece of work, that will make you feel better, and you’ll be proud knowing that you will have something positive to reflect on at a time when you might have rather felt like hibernating.

Find a public service organization or charity you could support by volunteering. In this way you stave off your emotional lull, create an opportunity to meet new people, and make the world a better place. Amen.


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