Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yes, it’s a real thing.
The holidays are over, the chaos is down to simmer, but I feel funky. The days are dragging and all I want to do is lounge around in my Victoria Secret Pink hoodie and joggers. There certainly isn’t enough coffee in the world that could salvage my mood. Its dark outside, so that means its bedtime, but wait, its only 5pm and I just got home from getting my son from daycare. However, I still have to cook dinner, do the dishes, bath time, read bedtime books, and then it’s Vinny’s bedtime. After all that, I still have adulting to do: laundry, write my blog post, read books for book club, clean the house, mop the floors, and maybe get some in some Netflix time. Gosh, I wish I could just sit outside and grill dinner while Vinny burns energy running in the yard, but nope, its dark and cold!
One day last winter, I went to see my therapist and she finally said, “Diana, I believe you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because last year and this year your mood has been identical.” I remember seeing commercials for this and thought it was just another pharmaceutical gimmick. I can’t believe I actually have this disorder. I legit got in my car and sobbed. I couldn’t believe that I have another issue to add to my long list, however, it makes complete sense. Once I got home I hit up Dr. Google and Wikipedia to research this SAD diagnosis. My moods seem to be the same listed on the pages and pages of explanations. Some of the mood changes can be sluggish, fatigue, decreased energy, mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and appetite changes. Another name for SAD is “The Winter Blues” because it coincides with the seasons changing from spring and summer to fall and winter, aka the sunlight decreases.
There is some belief that it is just a mood change, however, this isn’t accurate and the only way to truly know is to see your doctor or ask your therapist.
This year I have paid close attention to the way my personal mood was when we had the recent time change. Here are a few ideas that help reduce the symptoms of SAD:
- Open the blinds and let the sunshine in your home. Yes, its cold as heck out but letting the sunshine in the home will make you feel better.
- Make time for yourself. Yes, being selfish is hard sometimes, but it helps to keep your mood high. Go out with your girlfriends or go on a date. Go get a manicure or get your hair done. Anything that makes you feel good.
- Purchase a light box. It has great research showing that sitting in front of a light within an hour of waking helps relieve SAD symptoms.
- Work out. It has been proven time and time again that physical activity is a mood enhancer and stress reducer.
- Pay attention to your food intake. I hate “diets” and I love carbs, but I am focusing more on my fruits and vegetables. I know overdoing the junk will just make my SAD worse.
If you know have SAD, what are you doing to help yourself during the winter months? Do you feel that you need to make some adjustments to keep your SAD at bay?