Are you feeling SAD?
Autumn brings a bountiful harvest and a change in both the outer and inner worlds. The nights draw in, a spectacular show from the trees brings a crescendo and then we rest…
However, this time of year can bring a sense of foreboding for many people who experience what is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Inextricably linked to the darker nights, people can feel a pattern of difficulties similar to depression but triggered by the reduction in light levels:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer and finding it hard to wake up
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
The work outside in nature, that Seed of Hope people take part in, helps to brighten the spirit through reducing isolation, as well as providing a source of motivation and structure for the day. It gives an outlet for difficult and uncomfortable emotions and tops up much needed vitamin D, which is harnessed from the sun.
It is always wise to plan ahead as well as accepting the change of pace that this half of the year brings. Our winter self is different to how our summer self feels and interacts, this is perfectly ok. However slap bang in the middle of this time of natural rest is the busyness of Christmas and we often have work and/or have family commitments that make it difficult for us to slow down. The charity Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) has a fantastic website with an enormous amount of evidence based suggestions and techniques to support and minimise the effects of this difficult time, including use of light therapy and eating seasonally. For those who are feeling very distressed and lost, a visit to the GP for support and advice may be needed.
Most of all know that you are not alone feeling this way and that the light will return…