• Carrie

Seasonal Depression

It's that time of year again where we set our clocks back an hour and although we get an extra hour of sleep, our days are shorter and our mornings are colder. It's typically a time of family and togetherness. It's a reminder to be grateful for the things we have and to give to others whenever, or whatever, we can. The leaves are starting to really rain down now and the season of autumn is extravagantly here.

But for most, it is dark when they get up for work and dark whenever they leave, it's like the world is devoid of sunlight. For those that may no have close family it can be a reminder of everything they don't have or have lost over the years. For some people this is a time of sorrow and darkness...not coziness and pumpkin spice. I sympathize and empathize with these people. Seasonal depression is very real and the lack of sunshine can be somewhat detrimental for people's emotional health, including mine. I think we need to enjoy fall time and winter as much as possible, but also be aware of the emotional effects this time of year may have on people.

My major issues with this time of year are the shorter days and the sickening presence of never-ending coldness. I live for sunshine. Although this year has not been the best for it, lounging by the pool is definitely a favorite of mine. I love being around or in water. It's one of the most effective therapies to help relieve my stress, anxiety, and depression. Fall and winter bring a hard stop to this type of activity, unless, nowadays, I want to schedule a strict appointment to swim indoors with a time limit and social distance rules in place. My time for relaxation has become a stressful and timed activity. The lack of sunshine and being able to swim under its warm, beaming rays, brings me down and makes me sad.

The holidays can bring their own kind of stress. I know that this has been a very hard year financially for a lot of people. Cooking large meals or buying tons of presents may not be in the budget this year. Some people don't have families to go home to or children to keep them company. So I implore you, reach out to people, not only this time of year, but all through the year to make sure they are ok. Bringing someone just a little bit of compassion during this time of year is what the season is all about. Don't get too caught up in the commercialism of the holidays, instead, lets focus on what is truly important; loving others and humbling ourselves.

Some things that help me during this time include a lot of fake light. I have a light that is specifically for people with seasonal depression. I place it in my peripheral when I'm reading or typing on my computer. Exposure to different types of light on a regular basis can really help this time of year. Also, I have found that focusing on helping others is a good way to feel useful and active during the winter months. Volunteering at a homeless shelter, or shopping for presents for a kid in need are some great ways to contribute to society, in turn making you feel happier. Finally, I stay away from the Hallmark ideal of the holidays. No Hallmark movies for this girl. That kind of unrealistic familial standard is not healthy for anyone. So, even though it may be difficult, try to enjoy this time of year. Be actively aware of your depression and do things to combat it.

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