Fall has Arrived
The latest research indicates that one in three people in the UK suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And according to the findings, women are 40 per cent more likely than men to experience symptoms of the condition sometimes referred to as “winter depression”. Symptoms range from low energy levels, to low self-esteem and anxiety.
As a woman who has grown up the the Far East and then spent her late 20s/early 30s between India and the Caribbean, I know that SAD definitely affects me. Whether you have seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder — here are some great tips on getting through the transition of the seasons.
The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
It is the season, folks. Of change. The light changes. The temperature changes. The leaves and flowers and last pieces of summer-ness change. School starts. Work might be busier. People are outside less. For many of us as we add layers of clothing, we also add layers of distress. Season change and the start of Autumn is exciting for many but, for others, it brings with a veil of worry, anxiety, sadness, and discomfort in the form of depressed or anxious moods, or, from some of you, seasonal depression.
Here are some suggestions for you about how to take care of yourself if you are one of the many who find your emotional wellness slipping away with the daylight, whether it’s full-blown seasonal affective disorder, known as seasonal depression, or a worsening of your moods when fall comes.
1. Make sure you are meeting your basic needs. Sleep, nutrition (including adequate protein intake), exercise, and water intake are all imperative for brain health and functioning and can help us to tolerate the effects of stress.
2. Light therapy. Half an hour to an hour under a 10,000 lux 'daylight lamp' every morning from September or October to March or April, can really help, especially for people who are 'larks' who are usually brighter first thing in the morning. 'Owls', people who perk up at night may find early evening more helpful. It's important to stay under the lamp for the required length of time and not to keep getting up and down. Read more about Light Boxes here.
3. Stay connected. As the weather changes, we all seem to go back indoors and, too often, this isolation contributes to feelings of depression and anxiety. Reach out to those people in your life whom you feel your best around.
4. Be kind to yourself. Yeah, I know. This one can be hard, especially if you are one of the many who has very high expectations of yourself. But, the truth is that most people feel the ripple of change and so it makes sense that you may begin to feel a bit un-moored at this time. When you beat yourself up for feeling out of sorts, it adds a whole new level of distress.
5. Add colour to your home. This is kind of a materialistic one, I know, but this may be a great time to add colour and brightness. Re-charging your environment may help to keep your spirits up.
6. Breathe. Seriously. When we get ramped up in our emotions, we tend to move faster to stay ahead of feelings that are distressing. We do more. Unfortunately, counter to expectation, this actually can make us feel more anxious. If you notice that you are becoming depressed or anxious during this time, you may find that a few deep, belly breaths helps to calm the tension … and slow you down.
(Disclaimer: SAD is a form of depression and like any mental illness is very serious. The advice in this article is general and not medical advice. Please seek the advice of a health professional for specific recommendations.)