About 5% of the population experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a condition mimicking the effects of depression when shorter days and cooler weather begin. SAD is just as distressing as any other type of depression, but this year things take extra concern as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. All the extra time in the house has added stress and worry to so many lives. Exactly what is SAD and how can you ensure you are not sad this season?
Is it SAD?
The symptoms of SAD mimic those of general depression. The symptoms include:
- Changes in mood
- Feelings of hopelessness/sadness
- Changes in appetite
- Loss in activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of energy
- Thoughts of suicide
- Trouble concentrating
If you’re unsure if it’s SAD or just the winter blues determine how the symptoms impact your life. For example, if you have the winter blues, you may not have any motivation while SAD symptoms make it hard or impossible to function at work or even get out of bed in the morning.
Whether you feel the winter blues with added force due to the pandemic or other concerns or have a mental illness such as SAD, you can better cope with the following tips.
1- Acknowledge Your Emotions
We often attempt to hide our emotions because we fear how others will judge us or feel it makes us less of a person. In reality, acknowledging -and accepting -your emotions is the only clear way to make positive changes. Do not be afraid to be open and honest with yourself. This can help you avoid depression and other signs of mental illness.
2- Behavioral Action
Get up and do it, no matter how much you would rather not. That’s the behavioral action premise and research proves that it works wonderfully. For a person suffering from depression, this is easier said than done. Yet, research proves that moving the body sparks our minds. Start small, such as getting up to wash your face and brush your teeth, then progress to bigger challenges.
3- Take Time for Yourself
The constant stream of the worldwide web keeps negativity at our fingers, which is a recipe for disaster for SAD sufferers. Turn off the internet, stop scrolling, and take time for yourself.
4- Consult a Therapist
Therapy provides individuals with an outlet to express themselves and in return, get therapeutic advice and guidance. Talkspace is one therapy service many people use these days. Talkspace provides online services from the comfort of your home.
Be kind to yourself. Learn more about Talkspace therapy. Exercise. The above tips are among many simple ways to decrease depressive symptoms, including those related to SAD.