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Monday, December 16, 2013

Are You SAD?

English: Diagram illustrating the influence of...
English: Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-light rythms on circadian rythms and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The carols sing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." And if you're afflicted with SAD, it's true...Dec. 21st marks the solstice, and the days, thankfully will become longer. Just the knowledge that we're not loosing more sunlight is often enough to turn SAD around.

SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, strikes many people living in northern climates where the daylight diminishes until winter arrives. It comes at the same time of year as Christmas when we're supposed to be happy, and so it also adds a layer of guilt.

Believe me, I know. Every year, beginning in November it strikes me...some years worse than others, and for whatever factors this year it hit me hard. If you checked the symptoms at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195/DSECTION=symptoms
you'll know exactly what I've been feeling lately:

  1. depressed
  2. hopeless
  3. anxious
  4. listless
  5. withdrawn
  6. disinterested in my usual activities
  7. craving carbs and sugar (oh, gimme chocolate!)
  8. gaining weigh (see #7)
  9. unable to concentrate
  10. disruption of your circadian rhythms

Is there any way to find relief from SAD, aside from moving to Brazil or hibernating until January when the blazing sun shining on the glittering snow helps brighten the day?

Yes.

And Yes again.

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs
Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is what has helped me:

  1. Talk to someone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. It's a real condition and someone you trust will understand. Go to a spouse, a friend, a relative, a pastor, or your doctor who can recommend a therapist. You're not crazy.
  2. Photo-therapy. Open the blinds. Buy full spectrum lights and  keep them on when it gets dark. For some people, a light box with intense light helps.
  3. Exercise. I don't mean running a 10K or weight lifting. Dance to the WII. Scrub the floors or vacuum. Go for a walk. Haul wood. Practice Tai Chi. Take a yoga class. Swim. Choose something your area provides that you enjoy. If you go out and socialize, that packs a secondary aid. (See #4).
  4. Socialize. Being with people you lik
  5. e takes your mind off yourself.Now's not the time to try out #1, you're trying to enjoy life like everyone else.
  6. Eat properly. You crave potato chips and chocolate--maybe chocolate covered potato chips?--but they're not good for you. Eat carbs like potatoes or rice or noodles, vegetables, and protein--whether vegetable protein or animal.
  7. Pray. Don't forget that you are love by God. As anyone who loves another, we do not want to see the one we cherish suffer. God understands.
  8. Read Scripture. For me, Psalm 138:8 did the trick. "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; yo
    English: Scroll of the Psalms
    English: Scroll of the Psalms
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    ur steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." (English translation)  I struggled with my writing, with my talent, my dreams, my goals. That God would perfect (KJV) or fulfill all His goals, encouraged me to almost giddiness.
  9. Omega 3. Try fish oil capsules.
  10. Anti-depressants. If you're not adverse to using them, they can be an invaluable help in coping.
  11. And number 10 reiterates number 1. Be vulnerable. Not to any old Joe, but to a trustworthy friend who loves you. Let people into your pain, and you will find healing.
Keep in mind--the solstice is only days away. You're not alone--why did society decide to celebrate all these holidays at the dreariest time of year? Why do we had lights to our homes? Go to parties? We need salvation from the dark.

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4 comments:

  1. What's wrong with talking to old Joe? Joe

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    Replies
    1. I thought about that as I wrote it...that does help indeed...but you're not old.

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  2. I will do my best to remember to cover people in prayer who suffer from SAD. This article is very enlightening and alot of good information to know. Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Linda, you are so stable...ah to be like you.

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