As I woke up this morning and was greeted with the blackness of night, I felt as though a part of me died. It’s gone, I thought to myself as I stared into the darkness. With the coming of school, and the fleeting of leaves, the fall season will be shortly upon it, followed by winter. And with it will surely come my battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What Is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is affected primarily by the changes of seasons. For the most part, it affects people during the fall and winter months. In fact, it can probably be attributed to the high number of suicides during the Christmas season.
What Causes SAD?
From a scientific perspective, it is believed that the fewer hours of daylight result in a change in our body’s clock. I have my own theories about the causes, however, based on how it affects me.
1. More Clothes
Okay, so this one sounds dumb but I have major issues with long sleeves. They seriously bother me, a lot. So when cooler weather comes and I have to choose between freezing or wearing long sleeves pretty much daily, it creates a lot of unhappiness.
2. Getting Outside
Getting outside with four kids in winter is AWFUL! During the summer, I can just open the door and we can run out to play. I don’t need to worry if kids have shoes on or even more than a t-shirt and a diaper (for the baby).
When winter comes around though, that ALL changes. Now before going outside I have to find five coats, five pairs of boots, mittens, scarves, and everything else. And of course by the time everyone is ready someone yells, “But I have to pee!” And it starts all over again.
3. Bad Roads
This year, for the first year ever I am actually upset about the possibility of the roads getting slick. Why? Because I’ve actually been driving myself and my kids to a few places we enjoy going. Once winter comes along, though, will I be able to do it? It just adds another fear to my driving anxiety.
In addition to that, my husband now works a job where he is constantly on the road and often out of cell phone service. The thought of winter storms, bad roads, and worrying about his safety, isn’t very comforting.
4. The Passage Of Time
I think this may be the biggest struggle for me recently. As I begin to see fall and winter approach, I can’t help but view it all as another lost year. I think of how my kids are growing up, all the things we didn’t get to do over the summer, all of the fusses and fights that occurred in our house.
As the leaves change, I have to ponder my own life changes and how things will be in the coming months. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been going through a rough patch with my depression recently and as a result, thinking of change makes me feel utterly hopeless.
What I Am Doing To Combat SAD This Fall (And What You Can Do Too)
This year I am determined to beat this! So I talked with my husband last night and came up with some new things to try to keep control of my life.
1. Find Fun Outdoor Activities
My husband actually finds fall to be the best season of all! So this year, we are going to go out of our way to make fun, exciting memories while the leaves fall off of the trees. This should give me time outside, out of the house, and having a good time.
2. Planning Some Calm Indoor Activities To Do With the Kids
My kids LOVE playing outside, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. During the extreme cold, or sometimes just in typical winter weather, it is just too much hassle. Because of that, I have got to make sure I always have some awesome indoor activities for them!
That is one of many reasons I am so grateful for having found Usborne Books & More! They have some of the best activity books, EVER!!! From cooking, to origami, to stickers, and more we just cannot get enough of these books! Check them out for yourself!
3. Making Sure To Take Care Of Myself
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but physical health is seriously so important to mental health. If I don’t keep up with my daily vitamins, especially vitamin D, I am definitely in danger of letting SAD get the best of me. So this fall I am making the following things a priority.
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy
- Reducing my caffeine intake
- Taking my multi-vitamin
4. SAD Light
Have you heard of SAD Lights, Light Therapy, or Photo Boxes? I’ve heard of them for YEARS but have yet to try one. This year, I am going to give it a shot.
For those who don’t know, A SAD Light is a box that mimics natural sunlight. It is very, very bright and should only be used in the mornings to make up for the loss of the sun during the days. It is known to help improve sleep cycles, balance out melatonin levels, help with depression, and specifically with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
I haven’t used this previously because in order to take advantage of it, you really need to sit in front of it for a time. Up until this year, I’ve never had a time that I truly sit down for long, but as I mentioned in my post about quiet time I do now tend to wake up early and work on my blog. I figure this is a great time to try out phototherapy!
Would you like to try it out too? Get your own SAD Light by clicking one of the images below
If you know someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), make sure to share these ideas with them!