I’ve been thinking about you lately, Darling Hearts! These cold, dreary days have me wondering how you’re doing. I wrote an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder for Inner Child Magazine recently, and I want you to take a minute and read it. If it doesn’t resonate, no worries. Keep being fabulous! If it does, promise me you’ll talk to someone you trust about it and take steps to feel better, okay? Depression, no matter what time of the year it happens, is no joke. I want you to be the very best you that you can be, and taking care of yourself is absolutely critical. I’m sending you so, so much love and light.
Wishing You Total Well-Being,
The cold weather and shorter days of Winter often bring cozy, toasty nights in front of the fireplace and lots of holidays to celebrate with friends and family. They sometimes also bring something that can make these chilly months a challenge. I’m referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression common in the cooler months. Typically starting in Autumn, and resolving at the first signs of Spring, SAD is more than just sadness or stress and understanding what it looks like and how to treat it can help keep the season bright.
The symptoms of Winter-onset SAD can include exhaustion, irritability, hypersensitivity to criticism and problems getting along with others, oversleeping, a feeling of heaviness in the limbs, changes in appetite that include a craving for carbohydrates, and weight gain accompanied by depression. While it’s common to experience these symptoms once in a while, when they keep you down for multiple days at a time and you find yourself not able to stay motivated to do the things that you normally enjoy, it may be time to seek help. The good news is, there are plenty of natural solutions to this common problem and knowing what to reach for can help you get back to sipping hot cocoa and making snow angels!
Supplements and dietary changes are a great place to start for getting your bounce back. Things like SAMe and St. John’s Wort have shown promise in treating both general depression and SAD. Melatonin and Vitamin D can help with low-mood due to sleep disturbances and less sunlight from the shorter days. Another great option is Omegas. New studies have shown that Omega-3s, which are found in flaxseed, cold water fish, walnuts and eggs may be effective in treating depression, and are great if you don’t have access to high quality supplements or are watching your spending. Many also find relief from their symptoms by seeking acupuncture or aromatherapy, doing yoga or meditation, or through bodywork like massage, Reiki or Craniosacral Therapy. There is also traditional talk therapy and online groups and forums if you need extra support and the advice of professionals and people who have been through what you’re going through. While it can be hard to admit when we are struggling, it’s also a good idea to talk to your friends and family about what you’re going though, so they can check-in and offer a lending hand when needed.
It’s also important to note that while most Seasonal Affective symptoms occur in the Fall and Winter, this type of major depressive episode can actually happen in the Spring and Summer months, as well. Symptoms such as increased anxiety, insomnia, weight loss and poor appetite that accompany depression in warmer months can also be a sign of SAD. Before making any diagnosis on your own, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you may be experiencing and let them help you come up with a plan that won’t interfere with any medications or supplements you are already taking. This also allows them to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing don’t point to anything else that may require a different course of treatment.
I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but it’s worth repeating. No matter what this season holds for you, if you even think it’s a small possibility that you may be dealing with SAD or depression, please talk to a healthcare professional who can help. Keep in mind that while there are many wonderful, natural ways to treat depression, your local natural foods store employee can’t prescribe anything or make medical claims, so it may be necessary to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss which herbs and supplements will be best for you. Your health and happiness are important and you are totally worth it!