Is It SAD?
We are quickly working our way through fall headed toward winter, a time of year when a lot of people’s moods may head south despite their bodies wanting to go someplace south and warm.
Not this year it seems.
With COVID upon us, this thing called a “winter getaway” will have to wait till next year. Already have a lot of ideas in store when we get back to some sense of normalcy.
But in the meantime we can all monitor ourselves and each other’s behaviour and mood for the creeping signs of depression if not SAD: Season Affective Disorder.
Here are some of the things to watch out for according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
NOTE: If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide please get help immediately, either through an emergency room or crisis line or another mental health professional.
For less drastic symptoms getting exposure to what daylight is available in the mornings and before noon may help to boost your mood.
Vitamin D in supplement form can be an indispensable ally to help get us through the gray days of winter, especially here on what I sometimes call the “wet coast” with our liquid sunshine during the winter months.
Apparently vitamin D is thought to be an active component of over 2,000 different bodily processes! I won’t name them all, but some that I have seen come up are benefits to mood and immunity. Studies have also shown that those coming down with COVID are thought to do much better the higher their blood level of vitamin D.
For some a SAD light may be the thing to help them get over their winter blues. A large reasonably priced assortment of these therapeutic lights can be found on online shops such as Amazon, or in certain pharmacies.
For those looking to take things to the next level, there are dawn simulators available that will help you to wake up to gentle increasing light mimicking a natural sunrise which is thought to help provide more energy and boost mood during those winter months. Personally I have tried waking up with one of these types of clocks and swore I would never go back to a loud blaring alarm clock.
Counselling and or medication may be a possible solution for some feeling like their depressions or moods dips may be due to situational factors, in the case of counselling, or to underlying neurochemical imbalances, in the case of medications.
In the end, depression or SAD can cause much unnecessary suffering during the long winter months. Better to be aware of the symptoms and take note of any seasonal patterns so that you can ride out the winter season and not just make it through but enjoy it!
Stay safe and stay healthy!