Fall has officially arrived here in Mississippi. Yes, the leaves are finally changing colors and falling. The cool air moved in and the time for bonfires and smores is upon us. There is just something about those bright orange, yellow, and red leaves dancing across the yard as the breeze carries them along. The green grass will start to die and fade soon but for now, this scenery is a sight for sore eyes. During our summers, our heat waves makes your sweat - sweat. Fall is when the weather starts to change and the days become shorter. Often, the weather becomes wetter, colder, and the amount of sunshine just seems to disappear as the calendar flips towards the end of the year. While fall is one of my favorite seasons, there are a few sneaky goblins that like to come out and play this time of year.
With these changes dreaded issues for mental health arise. I like to call my bad moods goblins because it always seems to happen around Halloween. Have you ever noticed that during cooler weather you tend to feel less like going around people? You would rather stay home, snuggled up under a blanket on the couch? Or maybe you get that nagging feeling of concern just because you need to go to the grocery store.
These could be symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder which can also be termed SAD or seasonal depression.
What it boils down to, our bodies were meant for sunlight. We achieve a certain "happiness" because of sunshine. That's right, we get happy because of the sun. Our sleep cycles are even affected by, yep - you guessed it, sunshine. When the amount of light we see diminishes, our body chemistry go awry. Think about it like, our body goes into a hibernation like state. The problem is, we can't hibernate. Could you imagine asking your boss if you could just stay home every winter? I am sure that would go over like a turd in the punch bowl.
So here we are, having to still live life during these short days and long nights and our bodies just do not want any part of it. Our bodies start to show anxiety, fatigue, and social withdrawal. Holy hell, that sounds like 2020 wrapped into one sentence.
I have dealt with depression before and yearly I fight issues with seasonal depression. While I feel that mental health is gaining popularity in the health care field, I also feel we still have a long way to go as a country. As a healthcare professional (yes, I still have that RN behind my name) I want to share ways for you to help fight feelings of hopelessness or other signs that you may be experiencing seasonal depression. These therapies are non-pharmaceutical. Please talk to your healthcare provider if you feel these signs or symptoms worsen or persist longer than a few months.
Talk with somebody. It can be a friend, a healthcare provider, or maybe even your dog. Interacting with others helps to stimulate our brains and will help to overcome feelings that things just "aren't quite right." Michael Phelps is now on TV promoting a new online therapy where you can speak to a professional without even leaving your home. (www.talkspace.com)
Photo-therapy can help immensely when it comes to our bodies not receiving enough sunlight. The Mayo Clinic even says that these small light boxes could be used and be more effective than using pharmaceuticals for some individuals. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298)
Chronotherapy is another way to avoid big box pharmaceuticals. With this therapy, sleep cycles are altered. This is often used alongside light therapy early in the day to have natural melatonin produced earlier in the evening which eventually affects the circadian rhythm which in turn, affects moods. (https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/clinicians-brief-guide-chronotherapy-affective-disorders)
My goal is to help as many people work on using more natural techniques while restoring a positive and stable mood. Recently I was plagued with a chronic bad mood that seemed to last for days and it hit me, I was fighting SAD because of the numerous hurricanes in our area and the days of no sunshine. I used a little nootropics and popped my mood back in place. I get my nootropics in my morning coffee from www.mscoffeelady.com (I do receive a small percentage from this website)
I hope this helps you and feel free to share with others.