Say hello (and goodbye) to Seasonal Affective Disorder

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As the days get shorter and colder, I’ve noticed it’s been a challenge for me to get out of bed in the morning.  Mornings are usually my favorite time of day; I’m up early, ready for coffee and to get moving.  However, once fall rolls around, I find myself doing the exact opposite- feeling numb and wanting to stay on bed.

Even on my days off I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to get out of the house, socialize, or get things done… then it hit me: it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It’s that time of year when we begin to wind down from summer, let go of the past, and prepare for the dark months ahead; and it’s only normal for us to feel a little “off.”

I’ve needed to find small, simple joys to get myself through these past couple of weeks.  I’ve had to not only live “one day at a time,” but also moment by moment.  It’s easy to get dragged down by the grind, cold weather, and the decreasing sunlight that I have fallen short in writing out my morning gratitudes, making plans with friends, and spending time in nature.  The things I enjoy the most and hobbies that come naturally to me have been pushed aside as I have sat in a pattern of discomfort.

Acknowledging your Affective Disorder is the first step!

SAD usually affects me the most when I’m in a routine- waking up, going to work, going home, going to sleep, repeat.  I’ve distracted myself from the turn of the season in previous years through major life changes- getting a new job, moving to a new city or filling my time with a major project, relationship or a hobby.  At the moment my life is pretty stable- no major changes or events in the near future-  so I need to make a conscious effort to keep my spirits up.  Life is about living, not just going through the motions.

I decided to make a list of things to look forward to every day, including the things I need to remember to do to stay in balance:

  • Meditation
  • Morning coffee
  • Enjoying the sunrise by the river
  • Writing a list of gratitudes
  • Eating balanced meals (remembering to eat is a big one for me)
  • Going for plenty of walks throughout the day
  • Checking in with friends
  • Reading positive / inspirational books
  • Avoiding social media / negative news
  • Journaling, drawing, and painting- anything creative!
  • Discovering new events and hobbies- make a calendar of things to do and look forward to
  • Self care- painting nails, getting a massage, enjoying a cup of tea

Remember, you’re not alone… and acknowledging that “this too shall pass” is so important right now!  What helps you get through seasonal depression?

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