Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is ‘nicely’ termed the winter blues. It is not as simple as this, though. It can be a ‘specifier’ of major depression and left untreated can often have profound effects on people’s lives. However, there is much one can do to combat these symptoms to continue to have a ‘normal’ mood during the winter and Uplevel Your Joy.
Some symptoms include difficulty waking up in the morning, overeating & oversleeping, lack of energy and difficulty concentrating, withdrawal from family and social activities that are enjoyed otherwise.
Reasons for Seasonal Affective Disorder are many. Less exposure to light means lowered Serotonin levels. Lack of Serotonin is one of the key components in depression. Less exercise decreases the amount of endorphins in your body. These chemical changes are key ingredients to bringing on SAD
There are many ways to treat SAD. Light Therapy, exercise, time outside, eating a diet with extra green leafy vegetables, taking nutritional supplements that support your endocrine system.
Bodywork helps. Massage, aromatherapy and reflexology have been shown to be help with SAD. Here are some reasons why:
~Massage Therapy: Bodywork helps you slow down, relax and recharge. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Compassionate Human Touch is often helpful for someone to know that everything will be all right!
~Aromatherapy: Many essential oils have anti-derpressant properties and can be quite useful in lifting the moods of the winter. I find the Citrus oils the best to combat this disorder. You can use them in many ways from diffusing them into the air, using in your cleaning products or in an aroma-massage.
~Reflexology: has been used dating back to the Egytpians to treat many aches and pains. Due to it’s natural healing ability, reflexology helps our bodies to release endorphins which naturally bring balance back to our own selves.
There are many other holistic therapies that help alleviate the symptoms of SAD. Here is a look at just a few of them.
Light Therapy: is simply exposure to artificial light. You sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light so it’s brighter than indoor lighting but not as bright as direct sunlight and it is generally believed that first thing in the morning when you wake up is the time of day that works best. Sometimes, the symptoms of SAD can be alleviated in as little as 2 to 4 days but may take up to a few weeks.
Diet: is important to maintain the daily recommendations for complex B vitamins eat a low fat diet and eliminate sugar and caffeine as much as possible and eating small meals throughout the day. This will keep your body well balanced and help regulate its hormones to keep the symptoms of SAD at bay.
Hug A Tree: you can do this literally or figuratively. Spending time with nature and getting some fresh air (preferably when the sun is bright) will do wonders to help improve your mood. And, yes, I’ve been known to be seen hugging a tree ~ especially a large strong oak tree. You can’t help but feel its strength pouring into you!
Spend time with friends: it’s easy to say no to that dinner out and easier still not to ask that good non-critical friend to go have a cup of tea with you. As Nike says, “Just Do It” It may be hard but the many benefits this type of socialization brings are worth the effort.
Psychotherapy & Life-coaching: can help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that only exacerbate the symptoms of SAD. Psychotherapy or life coaching can help learn healthy ways to cope with your symptoms.
Meditation & Affirmations: work will help too. Mediation is a great way to relax and unwind and let you inner-wisdom find solutions to your challenge. Using affirmations to support the meditation work will change your inner thoughts from negative to positive and help to reframe your thoughts to one’s that empower.
I can personally attest that using Light Therapy, bodywork, psychotherapy, use of meditation and affirmations. All of these have helped alleviate my feelings of despair during the winter season. I understand how difficult it is to move through this period of time but that is the key: making a move. If you or someone you know suffers from this, making the first move maybe the hardest step but doing so is also your key to feeling better and brighter.
(It is important to note that if symptoms of SAD go on for more than a few weeks, it is important to seek professional help immediately. And that using some of these tips for helping alleviate the symptoms of SAD should be done with the support of trained professionals.)
As always, Self-care is critical to maintaining optimum health & wellness with this disorder and/or in general. Do you or anyone you know suffer with SAD’s? What have you done that you have found helpful to manage the symptoms and bring you back into balance? I’d love to know!