Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). By definition, it is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year, and typically occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. One of these areas is the North East region of the United States.
As someone who is native to the northeast, you would think that I would be well adjusted to the climate here. I know full well that there comes a time each year when the days seem shorter and, daylight has a much smaller window.
But over the last few years, I noticed a shift during the winter months. As the winter approaches and we turn the clocks back, my mood follows. I don’t always notice itwhile it’s happening; it’s more of a question of why have Ibeen so down lately, or why have I experienced swirling, repetitive thoughts. Then it clicks that it may be my SAD taking over.
It’s the most noticeable on bright, sunny days. I immediately feel lifted and lighthearted. My energy increases and I am insanely motivated. I am the energizer bunny combatting everything on my to-do list. Nothing can stop me. I notice the shift and then I ask myself “why?” to only notice the sunshine is literally giving me life
Grey days usually happen simultaneously. When you’ve been in the same slump for a couple of days, it’s less noticeable then if the sun and grey alternate. The ups and downs may be easier to distinguish and offset.
So you may ask, what is the best way to deal with this? Like most depression and anxieties, it’s very individual. For some people, light therapy helps. For others, infrared saunas or other sources of warmth can bring relief. For me, I try not to let things out of my control affect me. I try to find joy in every day. I take advantage of the sunlight when I can; I will go for a walk, put my face into the sunlight while I sit at a red light. Take advantage of those little moments that bring you joy. Find the light in every day.
Average Girl, Big Heart