Seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is associated with certain parts of the year, usually the end of it, winter. It’s the time of year where the entire natural world around us is dying and wilting in the cold of winter. Many people pass on during this time of year due to sickness. Those of us that are left behind struggle with the emptiness that overtakes our mind and body. Some believe the lack of light causes this during the winter months. Lack of sunlight can cause the biological clock that regulates mood, sleep, and hormones to malfunction and not regulate them properly. Another theory is that the neurotransmitters in the brain (i.e., serotonin) can be altered during the winter months in people with seasonal depression. There is no clear cause of the seasonal affective disorder.
When You Will Experience Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is also experienced in the summer months as well by a much smaller number of people. These people feel very depressed and sad during the summer months because of the extra sunlight that is given to us and, of course, the heat. Being hot is very uncomfortable and distressful for many individuals. Some don’t go out as much, and some even spend more money on gas bills because they are using the air conditioning more often and at a lower temperature. These times can be stressful, financially, and emotionally.
Signs and Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
There are many ways to tell if you or someone you love is suffering from seasonal depression. It’s important to recognize these signs and start taking measures to correct them. Some signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to, sadness, anxiety, oversleeping, weight gain, social withdrawal or isolation, decrease in energy, decrease in activities usually enjoyed, and many more. If you think you or someone you care about is experiencing depression during changes of the seasons, there are some things you can do to ease the pain.
Whenever you’re feeling depressed, doing things to distract your mind is beneficial. Try to get out in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes every day. Take a walk, go for a drive, or even stand on your porch admiring the beauty around you, even if it’s just the back porch where nobody can see you. It’s tough to get motivated during times of depression, but staying active and doing things that keep you active will keep you healthy through this difficult time. Also, take your mind off things that could be contributing to the depression, i.e., the death of a loved one or financial struggles.
I don’t mean to travel the world and spend all your money! Travel around your city, county, or even state. See the wildlife preserves, zoos, beaches or lakes, or even see a museum across town. Traveling is exhilarating and helps relax and revive the spirit for another day that will have to be tackled tomorrow and every day thereafter. Seeing and experiencing new things and meeting new people enlivens you and broadens your knowledge of the different cultures around you.
Plant a Tree
If your depression is caused by someone passing on, planting a tree in a special place will help remind you that life is special and those that pass on before us can live on. Even just planting some flowers in the front yard will give you strength knowing that you are giving life to this splendid planet and making it more beautiful.
Spend Time With Family And Friends
This can be the hardest one of them all. These are the people we care about most, and having them see us depressed could possibly upset them, and that is not a risk we are willing to take most of the time. However, putting on a smile and watching those you love enjoy just the mere presence of each other is a reward for the hurting heart. Laughter is the best medicine for depression, and our family and friends can always make us laugh.
A private therapist or counselor is beneficial to those of us that don’t feel comfortable talking to the people closest to us. Professional help should be sought if attempts at other methods were unsuccessful or if you feel the depression is getting worse or more frequent. If this disorder is seen at every season change, seek professional help a few weeks beforehand to get a head start on preventative measures.
Seasonal depression is a disease that millions of people around the world suffer from. The good news is that it’s manageable and maybe even curable.
Getting stressed a lot? Read our article on Stress.