The leaves slowly sway to and fro as they fall to the ground below. I count them, one by one, as I sit watching from my window. I shift my gaze to the wintery clouds in the sky above. Soon, every day will look this way – dreary, brown, and far from warm.
An inner angst takes hold as I am reminded time is running out (for no reason in particular, other than this feeling of the changing season robbing me of joy). My body is following the ebb and flow of mother nature and I don’t like it. Here we go again…..
I’ve never been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short); however, after having my second child, I knew something was different. It would take me another eight years and several doctors trying to pump me with anti-depressants before I would figure out the cyclic pattern of my own emotional rollercoaster.
Every October, as the weather starts to turn and the days get shorter, I begin to notice a shift in my mood, posture, sleep, and overall well-being.
Fast-forward to now, I have been better able to recognize when this shift in my body begins.
Does this sound like you?
- mood swings
- restlessness [in life, in general]
- insomnia or needing more sleep
- changes in appetite
- lack of interest to be in social situations
- difficulty concentrating
- similar temporary symptoms during the same time of year, every year
What you may be suffering from is what I feel I have been dealing with for several years – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
So, what do you do about it?
What I have found that has helped me the most is my Sunbox SAD light. I got it last year – using it every day in the morning for about twenty minutes. It greatly helped in lifting my mood as well as improve my sleep cycle. I have not used it consistently yet this month; however, will start this coming week as I can feel it’s time to.
Other ways I have managed my symptoms is maintaining physical activity in the winter – often trying a new workout program, which both challenges me physically but also keeps me interested through the cold months .
Re-framing (in my mind) what the colder months mean for me has also greatly improved my attitude towards the changing seasons.
Think about it – look at winter as a time to slow down, reflect, and having the ability to devote more time to reading, crochet, or other activities you don’t necessarily have the time for during the summer and busier school months vs being cooped up, bitter cold, and dreary days…..big difference in mindset, right?
The one thing that I’ve done for years that has always helped me through the hardest of days is journaling.
I hope by sharing my story, it may help someone out there realize that 1. you’re not alone and 2. you don’t have to be a victim to the changing seasons.
There is nothing wrong with being an advocate for your own health. Even if it may seem unconventional or maybe even a bit “woo-woo” to some – who cares? Find what works for you and stick with it.
I have found that using my sunbox light, exercise, journaling, incorporating essential oils into my daily life (which I talk about more in my post here), and stimulating my mind by doing the things that challenge me or bring me joy (guitar, reading, crochet/knitting, crafts) have been better than any pill I could be prescribed, in my humble opinion. Granted, I’m not a physician and understand that modern medicine does have its place in our society. I just refuse to believe that pills are the end-all and be-all solution to every problem out there.
No one will ever care more about you (or your well-being) more than you. And no one knows you better than you know you. Use that knowledge to your advantage – whether it be Spring, Summer, or Fall.
Flow with the seasons…..this too shall pass.