Depress Your Depression: Fight Seasonal Depression (SAD)
End of October
The sleepy brown woods seem to
Nod down their heads to the Winter
Yellows and grays paint the sad skies
And I wonder when you’re comin home.
As Dan Fogleberg sings, we all miss the good ole summer time. But if shorterdaylight hours brings you sad skies and miss your old self (wondering when you’re comin home), you may suffer from seasonal depression disorder (SAD).
SAD is a mood disorder causing depression in people during winter months. Symptoms include energy loss, weight gain or loss; sleep disruption and a general case of the blues.
Here are some ways you can cope
Get enough sleep
The emotional part of the brain (amygdala) is more active when you are deprived of sleep. (Walker M. 2007) When the amygdala is activated it is harder to handle your emotions logically and events become distorted. To insure your best sleep, follow these guidelines.
- · Get up if you have been awake for more than 20 min
- · Count, there is no emotion with numbers and it calms your brain
- · Only use bedroom only for sleep, no other activities
- · Limit electronics 60 minutes prior to bedtime
- · Keep a cool temperature in room
- · No clock visible, no TV
- · Keep a list of concerns in a notebook, outside of the bedroom
- · Make sure pets are in their place
- · AVOID caffeine and alcohol
- · Overcome the stress that comes with repeated and unsuccessful attempts to sleep—the more anxious you get the harder it is to sleep
Many animals take a long winter’s nap. We may be genetically predisposed to slow down with crops harvested and cooler temperatures but resists the urge to hibernate!
Try the 9 Healthy Habits from Michele Okum
- · Giving: Do things for others
- · Relating: Connect with people
- · Exercising: Take care of your body
- · Appreciating: Notice the world around
- · Trying out: Keep learning new things
- · Direction: Have goals to look forward to
- · Resilience: Find ways to bounce back
- · Emotion: Find a positive approach
- · Acceptance: Be comfortable with who you are
- · Meaning: Be part of something bigger than yourself
Exposure to specific wavelengths or daylight improves your frame of mind. It regulates circadian disturbances, which are known to impact mood. It is common for people suffering from depression to have irregular circadian rhythms. A “blue light” can be purchased for a reasonable price. Another alternative would be to take a brisk walk outside.
The dictionary defines depress as: sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject, dispirit. But another meaning for depress is: to lower in force, vigor, weaken, or make dull.
So if you have seasonal depression you may need to check out an anti depressant with your doctor and work with a therapist but you can also weaken or lower your depression “with a change in life style— “depress your depression” and raise your self esteem.
Camille Curtis Foster, LCSW
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Lyrics from Dan Fogleberg- Old Tennessee
Research seminar present by Michele Okum, Ph.D. Department of Psychology, University of Colorado. Sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential.