Some Folks Are About to Get Real SAD

October 31, 2016

 

Sunday was a gorgeous day! 

 

My youngest and I decided to head outside.  While he rode his bike around with friends, I chatted with some neighbors.  I got a little distracted as I glanced down the street and noticed how gorgeous the trees were, showing off their vibrant colors. 

 

My neighbor then mentioned that the time changes next week and I whipped my head around!  

 

“Crap!”  Was the first thought that came to mind.  Leaving home when it’s dark and coming home in the dark!  So not fun!

 

The reduced amount of sunlight that we receive during the winter creates some real problems.  I mean real problems.  It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  SAD occurs around the same time for some people every year.  It typically begins in the fall and ends in early spring.  SAD occurs more often in women than in men and is often thought of in terms of the “winter blues”. 

 

If you notice that you experience the below signs every year during the Fall and Winter, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.

  • Frequently feel irritable, sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious

  • Don’t feel like doing the activities that you usually enjoy

  • Start craving more carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta

  • Begin to eat more and start to gain weight

  • Find that no matter how much you sleep you are still very tired

  • Have trouble concentrating 

 

 

If any of these sound familiar to you, and you experience them every year around this time, I have some helpful tips for you to try.

 

Increase activity

I know, I know.  I just said you didn’t have energy or feel like doing stuff.  But by increasing your activities with exercise and structured tasks you will begin to feel an elevation in your mood.  Make sure you schedule in some relaxation time…..you want to keep busy but don’t burn out!

 

Get more light

SAD is believed to be rooted in the body receiving less amount of sunlight.  So do all that you can to get more light.  Take walks in the morning when the sunlight is strongest (bundle up!).  You can also put a timer on your lamp in your bedroom to turn on a half hour before you wake up so that your brain begins to receive light prior to you starting your day.  Another thing you can look into is a special light box that provides the same light that you would receive from standing outside on a clear, spring day.  Less sun light often triggers SAD….increased light can reduce SAD.

 

Talk it out

Processing your emotions as you experience them is very helpful in managing your mood.  It’s amazing what just a few counseling sessions can do in helping you reduce your symptoms of SAD and have a more positive outlook on the rest of winter.  

 

As we flip the calendar, and soon to change the clock, take care of yourself.  Practice self-awareness and check in with yourself to see how you are thinking and feeling each day.  Sometimes we operate on auto-pilot and don’t even realize how we are feeling until we are too worn down to do much about it.

 

Take care,

Erica

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