Winter time can be a debilitating time for many. At least I know it can be, and is, for me and many of my clients. The “Winter Blues”, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can include feelings of sadness, lack of energy, lack of motivation, difficulty sleeping, and a number of other depressive symptoms.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real thing. It is a subtype of Major Depressive Disorder and typically hits during the winter months. Recognizing and preparing for SAD can help you combat it so that winter doesn’t have to be so unbearable. And just like with other mental health issues and illnesses, it comes with its own set of Stigmas Stigma is defined as “a sign of disgrace or discredit, which sets a person apart from others. The stigma of mental illness, although more often related to context than to a person’s appearance, remains a powerful negative attribute in all social relations.”
Beyond any definition, stigma has become a marker for adverse experiences. First among these is a sense of shame. Mental illness, despite centuries of learning and the ‘Decade of the Brain’, is still perceived as a sign of weakness.
Clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year. People don’t choose to be depressed, but they do make a choice about how to deal with it. You can choose to do nothing, but denying that you have a problem will only make you feel worse.
- Regular Exercise is the easiest and least expensive relief for depression. Just walking 30 minutes a day will help you and sometimes completely alleviate your symptoms.
- Daily Mindfulness and Gratitude practice (Deepak Chopra’s Stress Free app. is a new favorite of mine)
- Yoga is a great mix of exercise and mindfulness, especially if you struggle with meditation on your own.
- Anxiety Release based on EMDR app. is another favorite app of mine, especially if you struggle with intrusive negative thinking, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, or even nightmares. (Remember to use it with headphones to get the Bi-lateral stimulation that makes it that much more powerful!)
- A light therapy box may also be beneficial, but make sure it’s at least 10,000 lux. This will help give your brain the sensation of being exposed to the sun, which does wonders!
- Vitamin D supplements may also help, just like the light therapy box, as we obviously do not get much sun during these cold, cloudy, winter months.
- Essential Oils such as Wild Orange, and other Citrus-y oils can also be beneficial. (Hello Therapy Threads!) You can smell them, diffuse them, consume them, or even rub them onto your skin (just make sure they are 100% pure, and organic grade)
- Medications, psychotherapy, and other treatments can be helpful, as well. To find a therapist close to you, click here.
Don’t let the Stigma of depression or SAD keep you from getting the help you need and deserve! I promise there is NOTHING “wrong with you” although it may FEEL that way. There is simply some chemical things going on in your brain, that’s out of your control. There are several treatment options that don’t involve talking, such as EMDR, SandTray, and Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, if that is another thing that deters you from seeking help. Remember, you don’t have a choice if you struggle with depression or any mental illness, but you DO have a choice about how to cope with it.
For more about Depression and further resources, click here.