You may be more than just sad if you suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, and to my personal dismay, the DSM 5 has modified SAD from a diagnosis to the specifier "with seasonal pattern" for major depressive disorder. I'm only upset because I like acronyms and how perfect was SAD for sad? Enough about my opinions and such, moving on....
Sleeping more, eating more (usually carbs), lethargy or low energy and not being convinced there's a Santa are all tell tale signs that you could be experiencing what is formerly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. All jokes aside, don't ignore these symtpoms.
It may come as no surprise that people living in states with less sunshine (disrupting your internal clock) have higher rates of SAD or less clinically speaking, winter blues. Knowing whether you are genetically predisposed to depression or mood disorders vs. it being a result of environmental factors only gives you understanding of the etiology or course in your life. We want to know how to make fall, winter and often times well into spring time FUN again. And if we can't make it fun, at least make it easier to endure. Not everyone is cut out for snow shoeing through the Metroparks at 6am let alone leaving the house.
With some help from Mayo Clinic's website, here are some approaches to treating major depressive disorder "with seasonal pattern", aside from the standard psychotherapy and medications.
- Phototherapy or light therapy uses a light box to increase your exposure to bright light in the morning and throughout the day. This exposure may cause a change in your brain's chemicals linked to mood. I bought my light box at Costco but they can also be purchased on Amazon. I recommend talking to your doctor as she/he can possibly recommend the right light for you and, you never know, it could be covered by insurance.
- Go Frank Lloyd Wright style and open up your blinds, curtains, or shades and let light into your home. Even though there doesn't seem to be much light in Northeast Ohio, natural light is key.
-yoga, meditation, massage, reiki, dance (all offered at Ubuntu Wellness) can help you cope with SAD.
-herbal remedies and essential oils (Young Living consultants available). Talk to your doctor before supplementing if it may interact with medications.
-Get outside. Exercise. Or JUST BE.
- Maintain a support system and reach out!!