Don't Be Sad Because Sad Spelled Backwards is Das and Das Not Good: Seasonal Affective Disorder
Fall and winter for many are times of changing colors and preparation for the holidays. It is a time of the year people spend months planning and looking forward to. It’s also that time of the year where many individuals start to feel the effects of depression. The seasons are changing, holidays are coming, the days get shorter and the nights get longer. These changes are annual and don’t affect most individuals, but for others, this time of the year is a time they never look forward too. The change of the seasons affects the brain chemistry for some individuals which brings an onset of sadness, loneliness, boredom, and depression. These symptoms last throughout fall and winter and lighten up or disappear during the summer and spring seasons.
Sunlight is essential for the body in more ways than most individuals realize. For those living with SAD light therapy is proven to be extremely helpful. Helping to replenish the body from not getting as much sunlight as it would in the summer and spring seasons. Taking a vitamin C supplement everyday also tends to help, not to mention it’s just naturally good for your body and immune system regardless. Others choose medication to help them or standard psychotherapy.
If you live with this disorder you are aware that you will start to feel these feelings around the same time every year, so why don’t we prepare ourselves to be the healthiest we are capable of being! Here are some ways to diminish some of the effects of SAD:
- Make sure all the lights in your house are UV- Filtered LED white light bulbs. These light bulbs will make a fairly dramatic impact for most people living with SAD. The most common reason is less sunlight which triggers hormone changes. These lights will help reduce the amount of hormone changes that occur.
- Schedule your sleep. Scheduling your sleep keeps your body on a natural time clock. This is important especially this time of the year because your circadian rhythm will be more in line. Keeping your body on a time clock creates a consistent schedule. We all know how we can be when we are too tired, and being tired with SAD makes the symptoms worsen.
- Medications can make a significant impact in the symptoms of SAD. Serotonin is what regulates appetite, moods, social behavior, digestion, sleep, and memory. Imagine having less serotonin in your body and all these things in your life become so much harder! Medications help to regulate these chemical changes that occur during different seasons.
- Get off your phone. Social media and the internet are full of ways to make you feel bad about yourself and the world if you live without a mental illness. For those with a mental illness the internet is a scary place and can impact your thinking and way of life. Put the phone down and don’t allow yourself to take in so much negativity from the internet.
- Lastly, just talk. Sometimes we don’t know how to explain how we feel. If this is the case, grab a notebook and start writing. Writing helps just as much as talking. It is a release of those feelings inside that you feel no one will understand. However, by writing you are not allowing those negative feelings to continually build up. If you are able to talk then do so. Explaining why you feel the way you do, trying to notice your own patterns of negative energy, and being proactive will help you tackle your SAD.
There are many more ways to help SAD. SAD is most common in the winter and fall seasons, but can also occur during the summer and spring as well. If you are feeling like you may be experiencing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, boredom, loss of appetite or sleep when you normally are a happy individual you may want to pay attention to your feelings and actions more closely. If symptoms continue schedule an appointment with your local psychiatrist. Don’t brush off the feelings of the “winter blues”.
Here are some sources for help: