Don’t be SAD

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First Posted: 3/6/2015

Are you SAD? Do you find yourself sleeping excessively, having no energy and just generally down in the dumps but for no apparent reason? You may have come down with a case of seasonal affective disorder. You aren’t alone. More than 3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with seasonal depression every winter.

Right now, in the ending weeks of winter, is prime time for anyone suffering from SAD. Feeling like you can’t handle another snow storm, gray morning or anymore subzero temperatures are signs that you many have the disorder. Relationships that once seemed strong will fall apart for no reason. Friends will fight over trivial nonsense. Your productivity at work will go down the toilet and it is all because, when it comes to winter, you physically just can’t do it anymore.

So how can you stop feeling so low? You can always see your doctor for an anti-depressant, but chances are you will get out of this slump within the next couple of weeks, once your cabin fever breaks and you can get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun.

I can say from experience that going to work while it is still dark out and going home, also while it is still dark out, reeks all sort of havoc on my mental health after a while. The holidays are over and the snow is gray and dirty and frankly I am just over it. I find myself to be irritable and discontent with things that really aren’t a problem at all. My circadian rhythm is so off, I find myself awake daily at 3 a.m. staring at my ceiling but passing out on the couch by 8:30 every night because my body just wants to sleep.

It’s time to break the cycle. I started exercising at home just to battle feeling so lethargic. I also started taking a multivitamin so my vitamin D levels are not so low and I embraced an indoor hobby that doesn’t involve Netflix and my couch. I find that painting has awakened the sleeping, creative beast inside of me. I’m not calling myself a Picasso by any stretch of the imagination, but I find that on days I am feeling low, picking up a paint brush and letting my creative juices flow has me feeling alive and energetic by the time I put the brush back down.

I was curious about other methods of treating SAD and found that people who use light therapy or even tanning can actually make you mentally feel better. Listening to your favorite summer playlist and having a dance party in your living room will also get your blood flowing and mentally put you in a better disposition because you can relate those sounds to happier, fun times. Who doesn’t love dancing around their living room in their underwear and singing off key into a hair brush? You can catch me performing this concert most Tuesday nights.

It also helps to just talk to someone. Pick up the phone and get in touch with your friends. I personally always fall off of the radar during the winter months and cut myself off from most social interactions, but talking with your friends and getting in touch with humanity will spark your inner summer girl.

Finally, let the sunshine in. Open the curtains during the day, and if you can take a weekend and escape for a drive, get in your car, fill up your tank, put on a good jam and just forget the world for a while. Taking care of yourself mentally will get you back in the happy groove and ready for those sunny days ahead. Cheer up friend, we are in the winter homestretch and it’s all going to be blue skies from here.