For us neurodivergent folk, changes in the seasons may symbolize the arrival of an unwelcome guest. This is especially the case when the temperatures start to drop.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the “winter blues” is a form of depression that is mainly triggered by a change in seasons.
It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people globally who have Seasonal Affective Disorder, as many cases may go undiagnosed or untreated.
However, it is believed that SAD is more common in areas farther from the equator, where there are more pronounced changes in daylight hours between seasons.
RANDOM FACT: There are two types of S.A.D “summer type” and “winter type”.
Common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Low energy levels and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Changes in appetite and weight (craving carbohydrates)
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Social withdrawal
Self Care & SAD – A Practical Guide
Self care can be a welcome tool in assisting you to manage your S.A.D symptoms. It involves taking actions to prioritize your own needs and engage in activities that promote relaxation, reduce stress and enhance overall health.
Below are 5 self care practices to help with your S.A.D. :-
- The great outdoors: Even if it’s cloudy or overcast, spending time outside during the day can help boost your mood and increase your exposure to natural sunlight.
- Work out : Physical activity can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Try to engage in regular exercise such as walking, running, or yoga.
- Eat a balanced diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help support your overall health and mood.
- Woosaaaaaaaaaah: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
- Talk to people: Social support is important for mental health, so try to stay connected with friends and family, even if it’s just over the phone or video chat.
- Consider light therapy: Light therapy can be an effective treatment for SAD and there are a variety of light therapy devices available for home use.
It’s important to remember that self-care practices may not be enough to treat SAD on their own, and it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms of depression.