The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a frigid winter in just a few short months. For many in the Midwest, as well as around the nation, this is a daunting and sad forecast. But for some, SAD is actually a legitimate reaction to winter weather. Around 4 to 6 percent of Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in any given year. That means you or someone you know has probably struggled to “keep with it” during the winter months.
Some of you may be thinking, “Why is he talking about this already?” Well, I do like to get ahead of myself from time to time. However, I think it’s important for us to consider talking about SAD now because we’re also gearing up for another difficult time in many people’s lives: the holiday season.
The holiday season is hard for many throughout the US. That’s because nostalgia is actually an important aspect of our mental health. Yes, remembering the “good ol’days” is good for you! Unfortunately, it can also sink us into depression and anxiety over being alone, which can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness for the future. So in reality, both the holidays and the winter can serve as a one-two punch to our emotional well-being. BUT never fear, there are answers. One of my favorite preachers of all time, Chuck Swindoll says this about the winter season,
How about that? Let’s make a pact to shift our thinking around the SAD season this year. Below you’ll find three ways I think you can help yourself to become wiser, deeper, and stronger. Leaving those SAD feelings in the dust.
1. Go on vacation. You heard me correctly. This isn’t just a thing for the summer, and it doesn’t have to be super expensive. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway at a tiny B & B, or just taking some days off of work to recoup, make sure to make some extended time for yourself.
2. Take time to breathe…outside. Some of us might not be sad or anxious. We might just be exhausted! Fall activities take their toll on each of us. Work projects, school activities, sports, and everything in between. And then we finish it all up with the holiday hustle and bustle. By the time the winter weather arrives we are plum tired, and don’t want to go anywhere. I know around my house we have a tendency to let the cold air keep us indoors for too long. When everyone starts getting a little grumpy, we have to come up with things to do. We’ll go for a walk or maybe do some sort of arts and crafts with the kids. I know my wife’s favorite thing to do is go to the mall and just window shop, and the kids love going to the indoor pool. The point is, we need to get out from time to time, and not let TV be our only companion.
3. Think outside the box. There are other options if you’re feeling blue and can’t seem to get past it. Non-habit forming medications are available, and since they take time to build up in your system you might want to go ahead and schedule that doctor’s appointment. There’s also research behind getting more Vitamin D through supplements, and the benefits of light therapy. With sticking to a routine, getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D and sunlight, and the right medication, you can feel up to conquering some of the things mentioned above. That makes getting out of the house much easier!
Farmer’s Almanac. (2016, August 15). Farmer’s Almanac Winter 2016-17. Lewiston, Maine, USA.
Orenstein, B. W. (2016, February 29). 12 ways to ease seasonal depression. (L. E. Marusinec, Editor) Retrieved October 24, 2016, from everyday HEALTH: www.everydayhealth.com/depression/treatment/ways-to-ease-seasonal-depression/#01
Parry, W. (2011, December 11). Why We Feel Nostalgic During the Holidays. New York, NY, USA.
Stewart, A. E., Roecklein, K. A., Tanner, S., & Kimlin, M. G. (2014). Possible contributions of skin pigmentation and Vitamin D in a polyfactorial model of seasonal affective disorder. Medical Hypotheses , 517-525.
Swindoll, C. R. (1983). Devotions for growing strong in the seasons of life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
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We’re on the downhill slope to the end of the year! It’s a great time to look back at all of our opportunities throughout the year, many of them made possible by you! Thank you to everyone who partners with us to provide affordable counseling to so many in our community. We want to give a shout-out to one of our partners in this month’s “Thank You Notes”:
- Thank you, Carroll Family Giving Fund, for your generous gift. We greatly appreciate your support in our mission.
If you are interested in finding out how you can become a Peace Partner don’t miss the chance to get involved before the end of the year. There is still time to double your gifts, and take advantage of a tax benefit for 2016, so please click on the link below or contact our Director of Development, Jeff Cox, at email@example.com.