Beating Seasonal Depression

Sayonara Summer, Hello Fall!

This time of year, is bitter sweet. Summer is coming to an end and Fall is creeping in, September 29th to be exact. It’s almost time to say good-bye to swimsuits and sangria’s and hello to boots and bonfires.

While this is a favorite time of the year for many, it is the beginning of SAD for others. Maybe you fall into the category of those who experience both the joys of crackling fires, warm boots and apple cider as well as the anxiety and depression of the seasonal transition. Either way, it is okay not to be okay all the time. We are going to get through this together!

What is SAD?

SAD is and acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. A disorder that causes depression like symptoms, beginning in the Fall and continuing on through the winter months. You may have heard the term “winter blues” or gaining “winter weight.” This may not just be a comical saying but a serious health concern that should be monitored and/or treated by a qualified professional.

What are the symptoms of SAD?

These are the most common, but symptoms may vary from person to person;

  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Appetite changes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Excessive craving of carbohydrates
  • Gloomy outlook
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

According to Psychology Today, SAD is estimated to affect 10 million Americans, with women being four times as like to be affected than men.

The best thing to do in the face of adversity is to be proactive rather than reactive.

How can SAD be treated?

Self-Care

                Think exercise, prayer, meditation and me time. Exercise releases endorphins that can relieve stress, decrease your sensitivity to emotional pains and boost mental health. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression just as effectively as anti-depressants. This of course, would need to be approved by your physician before making the switch. However, think of the benefit, smaller waist line, no harmful chemicals in your body, no risk for negative addiction and achieving better overall health.

                Prayer, meditation and me- time are all equally important factors of self-care. Being able to pray or meditate each morning and evening allow you to start the day with ambitious thoughts. At night, the same routine encourages a tranquil night’s sleep. Need morning affirmations? Check these out.

 Prayer can be a life-changing experience & bonding with a higher power allows us to find our destiny and life-calling. Everyday becomes that much more meaningful when you know you are walking in your purpose.

Therapy

                One of the reasons one may be develop SAD is due to the decrease of natural light that occurs in the Fall and Winter months. With this discovery there is actually a method known as light therapy. With privacy and time being of the essence with so many of us, I would recommend checking out Amazon. They actually have a light therapy box with great reviews.

               Therapy option two – The traditional, tried and true Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Many schools and employers offer an EAP program for their students or employee’s. This program allows a set number of free sessions with a therapist. These therapists are not normally employed by the company and patient confidentiality is still in place. You can actually reach out to your HR dept and they should be able to guide you in the right direction to this third party program.

Medication

                Should you be too busy to go  a more natural route, or if the previous methods are not working for you, your PCP should be able to provide a prescription for SSRI or Anti-depressive medications. Ensure you are speaking with your doctor about any concerns or side effects of  your prescribed medication.

Ironically, many anti-depressants have a side effective of suicidal thoughts. If this is ever the case, seek medical attention immediately by dialing 911, going to your nearest emergency room, or calling the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Suicide Prevention lifeline, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ also provides the option to chat online.

Always remember;

Every day that you open your eyes is a gift. You are still on earth because God isn’t done with you yet. You are worth life and love. Regardless of how you are feeling in the current moment, emotions pass and you mean the entire universe to someone!

What are your ultimate depression kickers? Share them below, and don’t forget to subscribe!