If you are experiencing symptoms of depression during this time of the year, the long winter months, know that you are not alone. During this period many people have trouble, and there is even a name for this type of thing. It is called seasonal affect disorder, or SAD (pretty fitting, no?) for short. When you’ve got SAD, you’re likely to feel sad. But it’s not just a basic sadness. The sadness can be unprompted by other things and events occurring in your life. You might not understand why suddenly you are feeling this way and having these thoughts. Well, what’s going on is that your body is having a hard time adjusting to the lack of sunlight that it is so used to getting during the summer and springtime. The sunlight makes us happy, putting us in a better mood and lifting our spirits. Conversely, when we have a lack of sun we feel sad and depressed. We might have a lack of appetite or eat too much. We might have trouble falling asleep, or the very opposite problem of having trouble getting out of bed. You might experience mood swings. Your condition might also impact your daily level of functioning. It’s especially concerning if someone you know is suffering from SAD and is having trouble making it to work, taking care of family responsibilities, caring for themselves, etc.
So, can anything be done about SAD? Well, the good thing about it is that it is usually temporary. Oftentimes it will slowly disappear as the winter fades and the spring begins. However, you probably don’t want to wait that long to start getting better. So, there are a few things you can try to speed up the recovery process. Firstly, you can get a special lamp which you can sit in front of for a specific amount of time each day. This light mimics natural sunlight, tricking your body into thinking that it’s no longer winter. The truth is, this is one of the most recommended treatment options for SAD patients and it really does help. But there are other tools to use in unison with this. First, do not underestimate the power of friendship. Having someone to lean on and support you in your time of need can go a long way. So rather than isolating yourself during this difficult period, reach out to people who will be there for you when the rain starts to pour. Also consider talk therapy. Having a designated place to get out some of your feelings can make all the difference while you’re trying to feel better. And don’t forget to care for yourself. While it’s easy to forget about showering or eating when you’re in a depression, doing this is counterproductive to your overall health. So give yourself that extra push to really care about yourself, even when it’s hardest to do.
If this didn’t make you too sad try some of our other articles.