Do you know anyone with a condition known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? It’s a low feeling that seems to occur each winter.
Here are some possible symptoms of SAD:
- Feeling low or blue
- Low energy, lethargic, uninspired, tired
- Cravings for junk food – especially sugars and carbs
- Edgy, crabby, irritable
- Depressed, empty, worthless
It seems that a decrease in sunlight is related to this condition. The lack of sun affects the creation and balance of important hormones which in turn affects one’s mood. Generally, in the winter, we spend less time in physical outdoor activities. We use way more artificial lighting and this too may affect our sleep cycles.
What can you do about this?
In the very least SAD can be frustrating. Sufferers experience low productivity which can affect job performance, relationships and academic efforts. Usually, this condition corrects itself in time. But in the meantime, serious consequences can result. If you are feeling these symptoms, it is a good idea to consult a physician. Your doctor can perform a thorough assessment and even prescribe treatments or medications which can help you through the season.
Other ways to cope:
- Anticipate the season and prepare for it.
- Engage in Therapeutic Conversation. Schedule regular meetings with counsellors or therapists.
- Learn techniques like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (and other gentle ways to intervene).
- Try happy lights. Exposure to specially designed therapy lights (15 – 30 minutes a day).
- Take supplements like vitamin D.
- Reduce obligations.
- Reduce the need to perform.
- Simplify your life and make room for gentle physical activity.
- Do easy things things – even if you are not into it.
- tidy up – organize your office, desk, closets, car etc
- go to the gym, walk, hike, get fresh air.
- build or fix something
- schedule volunteer activities (Service to others can help)
- Visit with friends and family in gentle relaxed low doses.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is real and it’s manageable. Keep active with lower expectations. Seek professional help and hang in there.