When summer comes to an end and all that’s left of the warm wind are falling leaves and brisk air, it sometimes becomes hard to keep our moods in tact. I have been told various times that I suffer from something called S.A.D., which means Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a condition that is associated with symptoms of depression, lethargy, and fatigue, to name a few. My doctor has told me that this is because of an increased production in melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. A friend of mine was told that her S.A.D. was caused by a lack of sunlight. Only an experienced health care professional can diagnose your personal situation and come up with the best treatment.
However, if you are like me and many other people in the world and experience seasonal mood changes that are mild, there are plenty of steps you can take to try to lift your spirits. These are not in place of making sure your health care professional knows how you are feeling; rather, these are some coping skills to help:
- Exercise – it helps relieve both stress and anxiety as well as improve your wellness.
- Get out of the house more – go to a friend’s house and play cards or do a puzzle. This is not only a fun thing to do but it also provides moral support for your S.A.D. feelings/troubles.
- Open the window blinds – maximize the sun when it’s out and open the blinds on sunny days.
- Change Negative thoughts into Positive Thoughts.
- Take time for yourself – continue to take care of yourself and your wellness. Even if this means getting a little extra sleep, taking an extra bath, reading a book, or even just relaxing by taking time away from everything else around you.
- Follow your treatments – If your doctor is aware of your disorder, make sure and follow all of his/her recommended treatments. Be sure to keep all scheduled appointments and keep a mood journal so you can show them what you have been doing and how it has/has not helped you.
Once SAD is diagnosed, it is usually easy to treat. Relax, take a deep breath, and know that you are NOT alone. There are millions of people who suffer from this same thing and are being treated daily while improving their symptoms. Remember to laugh, take time for you, and also to talk to someone for the emotional support. Close friends can help just as well as a therapist just by being around.