Stay Ahead of your Seasonal Depression.
Do you hear that?…It’s the humming of thousands of radiators as we all crank up the heat and preparing for the cooler weather. So pull out your blankets, dig out your fuzzy socks, and stock up on hot cocoa! The seasons are changing, and we are bracing for those longer, darker nights. While the shift from summer to fall and ultimately, winter can be both beautiful and filled with cheer, it leaves many of us struggling to maintain our care-free, summer moods.
This recurring battle can be referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and it can affect anywhere from 0-10 percent of the population, depending on geographic region. The further from the equator, the higher the risk. While symptoms can appear sooner, seasonal depression typically affects individuals between the ages of 20 and 30, the majority being women.
The main perpetrator is our circadian rhythm, also known as our ‘biological clock’. According to Mental Health America (mhanational.org):
“Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, has been linked to seasonal depression. This hormone, which can affect sleep patterns and mood, is produced at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, when the days are shorter and darker the production of this hormone increases. Melatonin can also affect an individual’s circadian rhythm, or “biological clock”, resulting in ‘internal clocks’ being out of sync with ‘external clocks’, or the usual sleep/wake rhythms. This can result in some of the symptoms associated with seasonal depression.”
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- Depression – misery, guilt, loss of self-esteem, apathy, diminished interest in activities, hopelessness, and despair.
- Anxiety – tension and inability to tolerate stress.
- Lethargy – feeling tired and unable to maintain a normal routine.
- Social Problems – the desire to avoid social contact/irritability.
- Sleep Problems – disturbed sleep, early morning waking, the desire to oversleep, and/or difficulty staying awake.
- Overeating – craving sweet and starchy foods.
- Mood Changes – extreme changes in mood/mania.
- Sexual Problems – decreased interest in physical contact.
Sound familiar? If you feel that you may be encountering SAD this season, the best course of action is to consult with a licensed medical professional. But where to find one? A good place to start may be through your workplace. Check with your HR team to see if they offer access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which could offer free and confidential access to a counselor near you who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
In the meantime, check out the following unique seasonal rituals that may, at the very least, distract you.
Alter Your Energy Field
Energy therapy isn’t actually a science, however, Reiki and other elective healing practices have turned out to be relatively ubiquitous. Reiki is now offered at some emergency clinics as a mild, complimentary treatment and can be a highly effective tool for beating the winter blues. This is due to its ability to restore balance, reduce stress, and improve mood.
‘Spark Joy’ in your Living Space
By now, we are all familiar with Marie Kondo and her hit Netflix series. Marie advocates for the organization of our homes and living spaces as a way to transform our lives. In any case, cleaning up is commonly used to combat restlessness and this concept is preached my Ms. Kondo in her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. This international phenomenon teaches that you should only keep and mindfully organize the items that ‘spark joy’. Those which do not bring you joy, should be thanked and discarded appropriately.
Rally the Troops
Good friends are good for your health. They can prevent loneliness, provide a sense of belonging, and help us adapt to and cope with traumas. Adults with solid social support a decreased danger of numerous noteworthy medical issues, including depression, hypertension, and an undesirable BMI. Research has also discovered that those of us with active social lives tend to live longer than those without. So, put in a little extra effort this season and stack your calendars with fun activities for the whole crew!
Grow Some Greenery!
Aside from the obvious need for us to grow plants (you know….to breathe), they also provide us with therapeutic benefits. On the off chance that purchasing your very own plant isn’t on the menu, travel to a plant store, a nursery or a botanical garden and simply spend some time taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Here at, AllOne Health, we are big believers in the power of plants. So much so that we give every new hire their very own first-day plant for their desks to lower stress, improve mood, and increase attention!
Compose a Gratitude Diary
We eye-rolled a little at this one ourselves, yet it has its merits: There’s some proof that the act of recording what you’re thankful for can improve your temperament. Cutting-edge specialists may even discover positive things to state about the weather. “Winter isn’t so bad, I don’t have to go out as much and only really have to socialize at holiday parties and special events, which are the ones I like going to anyway,” an optimistic companion told me. Fascinating hypothesis! Possibly it merits developing … in a diary entry.
Get Set To Simmer
Us? We’re apprehensive about simmering pots. They appear to be suspiciously straightforward. Be that as it may, comfortable soups and stews are obviously one of the upsides of winter.
Liana Krissoff, writer of recipe book, “Slow Cook Modern,” states “Stews and slowly simmered curries and dals and steamy bubbling stuff just smell so homey and comforting as they cook.” Getting back home to a crockpot feast in the wake of being in the cold and rain can make you feel taken care of, regardless of whether you’re simply the one taking care of yourself. Ms. Krissoff clarified. “Like: Thanks, Morning Me, for thinking to make this. It smells really good.”
Nurture Your Nostrils
Scented candles and other comfortable aroma creators are somewhat of an easy decision with regards to winterizing our homes, however CJ Powers, proprietor and organizer of Scenthouse LA, an inside scent organization, has a few rules.
“I think the worst thing you could do in the winter is fragrance counterprogramming,” Mr. Powers states. By this, he means don’t light a flame that smells like the seashore. “Embrace the winter, and dive head-on in with comforting, winter fragrances that wrap you in their complexity.”
For choices that won’t break the bank, go for a woodsy-scented candle like Teakwood & Tobacco from P.F. Light Co. Mr. Powers also suggests, simply baking some delicious treats to fill your home with warm, gooey flavors. Then again, on the off chance that you need your body to smell like styrax resin and cedar leaves, perfumes evoking the chilly climate are also having a moment.