Hello readers and welcome to Blogmas Day Four! I'm only on day four and I'm slowly running out of topics to talk about. To my blogging friends that do this on a daily, I commend you all. To anyone who is expecting Christmas-themed blog entries, there will be some, but my blog is all about positivity, mental health, and my life, so we'll get to it eventually. Also daily update: I'm slowly getting better! I can pop both my ears again (I couldn't for almost a week and it was freaking me out), can breathe through my nose again (however still stuffy), and honestly just fighting off coughing.
For today's entry, I wanted to talk about a topic that affects not only me, but many people I know: seasonal depression. The proper term for it is Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) and Arnold Lieber, MD (2017) states that this form of depression is, "..[something] that emerges in particular seasons of the year. Most people notice SAD symptoms starting in the fall and increasing during the winter months, but a few people experience a spring/summer version" (Lieber, 2017). With SAD, many symptoms are the same as depression, but there's also unique signs, such as constant oversleeping, weight gain, feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs, and even relationship issues (Lieber, 2017).
Like Lieber (2017) states in the beginning of his article, during the wintertime, the amount of sun out is shorter, weather get colder, and the season changes (Lieber, 2017). For me, personally, SAD is very rough around Christmas time for several reasons. It's true that having less sunlight, compared to spring and summer, and the weather getting colder is a factor, but it's also more of a personal factor. I have a lot of sad, traumatic, and depressing memories that have happened during December or January to me and have stayed with me. So every time it's closer to December or January, I start getting very depressed and feeling miserable.
Seasonal Affective Depression is not something to joke around with, and it's just as bad as regular depression. So if you're someone that also struggles to stay happy or find joy during the wintertime, you're definitely not alone. If it were up to me, I'd prefer the weather to always be springtime. Now that we addressed it, what can be done about it? Well, if your SAD is sever or you're unable to manage, I may not be a doctor (so please don't take medical advice from me), but it doesn't hurt to seek a doctor and discuss with them options for your mental health. Speaking to someone, such as a therapist, is also something to look into as well. I'm aware not everyone has insurance to look for doctors (I'm on the same boat there at the moment), so if you have money, I'd recommend looking up some counseling apps on your phone where you pay monthly to speak to a therapist.
If you're just looking for tips on how to get by, then I'll do my best to help you out! The biggest tip I can give you is to try to take in sunlight. I know that can be tough, especially if you work a nine to five job or just don't have the energy to do it, but it's extremely important. I know where I live, the sun doesn't pop up until 7 AM. So after 7 AM, whether it's going out to bring out or in the garage and recycling bin, walking for a few minutes outside, or even looking out the window as I have some breakfast, that little bit of sun I get is crucial.
Another tip I'd recommend is keeping yourself busy. Whether it's focusing on work, getting some house cleaning done, or surrounding yourself with people who care about you, keeping your mind busy really does help not think about the sadness. I know some people will think, "Well what about at night when it's difficult to be distracted?" Try to keep a strict schedule of your sleep. Being on top of your sleep is very important during the winter time, so try to slowly work your body and mind into a routine of sleeping at a certain time every night. The more sleep you get at night, the more you can enjoy the day.
I know a lot of my tips can be better said than done, but it's up to you to try. I'm not telling you that you need to do these things to get rid of SAD, but it doesn't hurt to try. The wintertime and holiday seasons can be rough, especially if you struggle with depression or SAD. Just know that if you are struggling this winter, I'm here for you. It's awful feeling down when others around you are happy and excited. You feel as if you're in the wrong and should feel bad for feeling this way. It's not your fault and I know you're doing the best you can. If you needed to hear, or read, it from someone, here it is. I believe in you, you're doing the best you can, and I'm proud of you.
In the comments, if you struggle with depression or SAD, what are your tips to help fight off the sadness during the winter? Also, I'm working on getting a subscription list for my blog, so until then, like, comment, and share!
Lieber, A., MD. (2017, November 28). What Do I Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder? The Signs, Symptoms & Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.seasonal.html
*Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash