What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subset of depression that occurs and ends around the same time of year. Often, people will experience this disorder in the winter months when it’s cold and there is less daylight.
Things to look out for:
- Loss of interest in Activities
- Inability to tolerate stress
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Craving for starchy and sweet foods leading to weight gain
- Avoiding socialization
Remember: If you or a loved on is experiencing any combination of these symptoms, it may be beneficial to see your doctor.
1. Create a consistent sleep schedule The body and mind thrive on a consistent sleep schedule. There are many apps for smartphone users to track their sleep schedules. If you have an iPhone, it is even easier to monitor what time you go to bed and wake up with the Bedtime function on your clock.
2. Let the light shine Don’t be afraid to open those blinds and let the light shine in! Take a stroll to your mailbox or play with your kids outside!
3. Take a hike Get those neurotransmitters stimulated with a bit of healthy physical activity. Put on your hat and jacket and walk around looking at holiday decorations or shopping at local stores for gifts.
4. Make a healthy meal Supplement those delicious holiday meals and decadent desserts with a few healthy recipes in between celebrations. Scour your social media feeds to experiment with a yummy new recipe.
5. Use those support systems Remember all of the support systems we talked about in Mental Health First Aid? Holidays are an important time to tap into those connections and surround yourself with people who care. Whether it’s a small gathering of family or friends having coffee, taking time to talk with people who genuinely care about your well-being is important.
6. Give back to the community Try something different! Dedicate some of your time to reconnect with your community through volunteering. Ask if you can help serve food at a shelter or sort donations at a nonprofit. Whichever communities you’re involved in, get involved this holiday season!
Are you or looking for a way to help the people around you with Seasonal Affective Disorder? Check out one of SC Thrive’s Mental Health First Aid Trainings! Mental Health First Aid helps individuals identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Just as CPR trainings helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Adult Mental Health first Aid training helps a layperson assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Find one near you today at scthrive.org/upcoming-trainings!