Raise your hand if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder! Actually, you’re most likely too busy pushing your body as deep into the bed as possible right now, and I don’t blame you. I’ve spent a lot of my mornings, mid-mornings, afternoons, pre-dinners, afternoon teas, and beyond trying to fuse with my bed/couch. As soon as I realize that my kids need to be fed, washed, and generally taken care of, my body revolts against reality.
Not one month ago, I was able to get through a generous portion of the day without hitting any major walls that would cause me to fall into the aforementioned slump. But something has happened in the last week or so, around the same time that the weather started showing signs of change. A familiar feeling is beginning to creep upon me, usually around mid-afternoon, where I feel all motivation and desire to be a human being draining from my body. The familiarity of the feeling is unwelcome, because I not only know what this feeling is, but I know how long it can last. Do. Not. Want.
Before I get into some ideas I have for combating SAD, I need to address something that I’ve been wondering about lately. I am trying to figure out if these feelings of fatigue and general lack of motivation are mostly due to something tangible like fewer sunny days or being sick more often, or if it occurs because I expect it to. I don’t know about you but my anxiety makes it really easy for me to manifest physical symptoms. If I were a mutant, my power would be to make myself sick in an instant just by thinking about it. Worst power ever!
This doesn’t discredit the very real factor of the weather changing, and with that a higher likelihood of viruses causing fatigue as well as a drop in accessible outdoor venues with which to let my kids run like animals. But I do think that sometimes when the first day comes where I begin to feel “the blues”, I immediately treat it like a doomsday prophecy.
So what can I do? Well, a few things:
- Mind my eating habits. I’m all about allowing myself to have treats and comfort foods, but if I’m going all in and just completely abandoning whatever healthy habits I may have started in the summer, then duh, I’m gonna get sick.
- Keep taking my vitamins. This one is important, because they have been helping A LOT. Even this recent bout of laziness has not been nearly as bad as it has been in recent years, and I credit that partially to my body’s stockpile of vitamins that are keeping my moods lifted and my energy up. I’ll add on extra D3 for the winter, as well.
- Get out. I find that when I’m having a SAD episode, all I want is to become my couch, but the deeper I sink in, the harder it is to get myself up. Makes sense, right? Well that’s bad because my mood does not get better by lying around for a prolonged period of time. A show or two, sure, but day after day, spending more than a couple of hours on the couch is bad for my brain. So I need to force myself to get up and get out of the house, even just to go to the store.
- Keep being active. Training for this 10K is helping because I am forcing myself to run 4 times a week and cross train an extra day. After I run that race, I am going to sign up for a class or another challenge to keep myself active, because as much as I hate hearing it, it really really does help.
- Talk to people. Particularly those who hear you complain and don’t make you feel worse about it but actually listen and even commiserate with you. Even if they aren’t suffering from the same feelings, everyone has something that they can share with another person who is in a slump.
If you’re going through SAD, hang in there. Do what works for you, and know that it will all get better. It might take time, but you can find your way off of the couch.