SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Trauma

Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as SAD, is a condition many people suffer with once the shorter days are upon us in the fall and winter of the year.

Many people are not aware that the frustrating symptoms they are experiencing can be linked to an actual medical diagnosis of SAD, and can be easily treated. Check with your doctor first.

What has SAD got to do with trauma? The symptoms of SAD can exacerbate the effects of any trauma a person has experienced.

Some of the symptoms of SAD are:

  • Feeling depressed, and losing interest in favourite activities;
  • Feeling sluggish, weary, and having low energy;
  • Feeling agitated and having difficulty concentrating;
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, or even suicidal thoughts;
  • Changes in eating habits, craving carbohydrates, and weight gain.

When these symptoms are associated with SAD, it means that your body is lacking in the natural benefits of longer days and greater exposure to sunlight. They can negatively impact your healing journey from trauma.

What can you do to alleviate these symptoms? First of all, determine whether this happens to you only in the fall and winter, and goes away when spring arrives. Your family physician may be able to help you with this.

There are special lights that can be purchased to provide you with 20 – 60 minutes of special UV rays every day. They range in price from around $60 to $200. And, the best time to use your special UV light would likely be after awakening, and when you are getting ready for your day.

Another, and low cost, solution would be to get out for a walk at noon during the fall and winter months. That is when the sun is highest in the sky, and you would reap the benefits of its rays.

Those are physical ways in which you can manage SAD symptoms. If feelings of depression, sadness or worse, linger, you need to consider getting professional therapy or coaching to help you process these feelings.

Something else to consider is the old mantra of ‘mind over matter’. There is a lot of truth to its simple wisdom. Modern science in the field of neuro-plasticity shows that the messages you repeat to yourself, consciously or unconsciously, can make a huge difference in how you navigate through your day.

Repeating a constant message to yourself of how depressed, sad, or hopeless you feel will only reinforce those negative feelings. Instead, try repeating a healthier mantra. Something such as, “I feel good. Sunshine makes me feel happy. I’m going for a walk at noon today.”  You may think that messages like these are silly, given how you feel right now, however, they are proven to help, as long as you keep practicing, and noticing the changes.

Making a commitment to self to walk in the sunshine, purchase a special light – and use it – or discuss your situation with a professional with go a long way in helping you more positively manage your SAD feelings. The choice is yours.

You can move from SAD to happy!

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