As you all know, I’m no doctor… But I do feel that I can be a reference for people to go to when it comes to certain situations. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a tricky beast, especially for people who already suffer from depression. Although my SAD is not as intense as some others and occurs more in the spring than it does during winter, it still affects my day-to-day… Particularly whenever the seasons are lingering in the air. Lately, we’ve had days where the snow has suffocated newly sprouted flowers… And just picturing that makes me feel hopeless. However, I do feel as though I’ve found some tips and tricks on how to cope with SAD and depression in general.
My first recommendation is to give yourself a personal day. It is absolutely okay to take a mental health day at work. If you feel your SAD creeping up on you (or depression in general) I recommend taking Friday- Monday off and giving yourself a long weekend of reprieve.
It’s okay to stay in bed and sleep. Sleep can be an escape and it is possible to get too much sleep so make sure you’re not sleeping longer than seven to nine hours in one cycle. However, it IS a very necessary thing when it comes to healing both the mind and the body. So, spend some time catching up on your deep sleep, feed yourself healthy snacks, quiet your mind and take some time to remove yourself from chaos of every day life.
Sitting with my feelings has always been scary for me, but when you spend time letting yourself feel, you can better identify what you need to do to heal.
Then start with the basics…
ALWAYS find time for some form of physical activity… It will help the release of dopamine into your brain (see my post about how routine physical fitness helped me conquer anxiety and depression).
Lastly, get a change of scenery. Just the other day I took a day trip to Lawrence to visit my favorite shops, grab a nice meal and just refocus my energy onto what made me happy.
Sure, all of this might seem easier said than done, but I’m a firm believer that if you give yourself the time you need and prepare yourself for success, you will have it. Always remember that talking to your doctor and getting appropriate therapy is crucial, especially if things are getting really difficult for you or you’re having suicidal thoughts.