As the last of the summers sun fades away and the days become darker, colder, and more bitter- so do you.
Whilst the worlds revelling in pumpkin spiced lattes, cozy, cuddly evenings with blankets and books, and their newest scheme for Halloween…
You’ve become a wispy little ghost, who can’t say boo–
And by Christmas, the Grinch ain’t got nothin’ on you…
Seasonal Affective Disorder- more affectionately known as SAD, is a mental health condition where a person experiences depressive episodes throughout the changing of certain seasons.
Whilst most usually see the autumn and winter months being their trigger time, spring and summer have their fair share of SAD folk too.
They can experience this condition solely, and will begin to start feeling like themselves again once the affecting seasons are over-
Or, SAD can be among other depressive or mental health issues that erupt year round- but intensify much more noticeably within certain seasons.
You’ll start to notice the same symptoms like that of other depression diagnoses-
A persistent sad, empty mood. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, shame.
Loss of interest in life, especially with things you really enjoy. Everything just feels pointless. Can begin to interfere with daily life.
Reduced energy, constant fatigue, difficulty sleeping- it feels like you only have a very limited amount of energy, that can only be spent on certain tasks before it’s all gone.
Physical pain, changes in appetite. Difficulty concentrating- sometimes becoming more forgetful. Thoughts of self-harm, or suicide…
And as we now know, these appear with the changing of the seasons.
Now, my first tip to helping manage this condition would have been to speak to a mental health professional to learn more about it…
But with COVID-19, the ability to access these options at the moment have become difficult and overwhelmed- which has forced us all to think outside the box a little.
So how can you help yourself manage it?
Despite being difficult to get face to face appointments- it hasn’t stopped the practitioners and advocates from educating online!
With knowledge comes power, and the more you find out about this disorder, the better equipped you become to manage it!
Depression can cause many of us to become isolated, to shut down and suppress ourselves- making talking to others difficult.
But we need to talk about things.
And journalling is a great way to do that!
It’s like getting all the mess that’s in your head on paper, plain to see- which makes it a useful tool in figuring out triggers, relieving stress, and re-connecting to yourself!
I’ll be posting up some journal prompts soon to help get you started!
Woah there- exercise? When you’re barely able to survive the day as is already?
A lot of us have this misconception that exercise is an activity that requires a hefty amount of time and energy expenditure…
And in our depressed states- where we’re counting every last energy bar we have against the giant stack of to-do’s, exercise is often the first thing to go out the window…
But, it actually gives you energy!
It also helps focus the mind, reduces stress, and inspires positivity!
I get it though, when you’re depressed, you’re often really fighting yourself to get up and do it…
The trick then, I’ve found, is to exercise in a way that matches your abilities and time frame that day… For example:
Can’t get out of bed?
Do light exercise in bed!
Too much to do, and not enough time?
Why not do some stretches whilst the coffee’s brewing? Take the stairs instead of escalators? Rather than scroll through social media in that five minutes spare you found- get your heart rate up instead! Or do a quick yoga before bed session to help wind down and ease any tension of the day.
Have a day with free time?
If you’re still not feeling up to working out, try taking a walk instead- or discovering something new that gets you moving, like a dance, boxing, or martial arts inspired home workout!
Youtube has loads of them- from five minutes to a full on hour!
But most importantly, exercise in a way that’s going to make you feel good today.
We have a tendency to shut ourselves away in the winter months- it is blumin cold!
But just because outside is a little bit miserable looking right now, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t stopped being able to help you!
There are so many benefits to being outdoors for your wellbeing- fresh air alone plays its part in helping you feel calmer, refreshed, and more grounded…
Wrap yourself up like a fluffy burrito and go for a stroll- sit in the park and meditate- or have a yummy pot of tea in a cafe garden!
And finally for this post-
Stick To Your Self-Care Routine:
If there’s one thing you take away from this post- let it be this. (If you don’t have a self-care routine, create one! Or let me know if you’d like a how-to post!)
Depression is a disgusting sucker whom- if you let it, will make you hate everything you love- including yourself, making it that much harder to come back from the self-destructive behaviours it encourages.
(My next blog post explains this process in a bit more detail!)
But that’s why it is so important to stick to the activities that inspire positivity and wellness into your day. Especially when depression and life are trying to convince you that you can’t.
As I like to remind myself in lows times where I can barely function-
five minutes a day, is much better than nothing. It all adds up…
Thank you for taking the time to read this post!
Leave a comment if you’d like to share any of your tips on how you manage seasonal affective disorder! I’d love to hear them!
And don’t forget to subscribe to get notified when the Journal Prompt post is up!
Not a doctor. Any advice given is through my own personal experiences and research.