The leaves that turned from luscious green to red, orange, yellow, and finally brown are now meeting their death on grass that was once verdant with the promise of renewal and life itself.
It never fails that year after year when Autumn pushes its’ way in, negating summer, I am faced with patients who are depressed in my practice.
Who can blame them?
The good news is that most of the time it is not clinical depression, but it is what is often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD.
How to feel better in winter months - here’s what you do:
According to Christiane Northrup M.D., a noted physician and disseminator of women's health information, exposing yourself to a full spectrum light bulb helps; indeed, and that using a full spectrum light for about six hours a day is the equivalent to 30 minutes of sunlight. The absence of sunlight is the problem, it is what brings on those awful feelings of sadness, lethargy, and that overall bleak mood that makes you not want to get out of bed all day.
1. To that end, open the blinds, turn all the lights on when you get home, make your room bright and cheerful. Treat yourself like you are a magnet to the sun and attach yourself any which way you can.
2. Take walks during the day. Exercise, after all, is always good, as it helps to increase your exposure to light, it gets that adrenaline going, and last of course, exercise helps you feel good about yourself, which is a wonderful goal in and of itself.
3. Take care of yourself. Your instincts might tell you to hibernate, and while I love a little hibernation, it is not good on a regular basis. Force yourself to get out of the house. Seeing people, and feeling alive while nature is dormant is a wonderful antidote.
4. Turn on music when you get home and sing at the top of your lungs or, try a quieter route. Meditation is a wonderful tool to get you in that mindful place where things are not ALL good or ALL bad.
5. Of course it must be said that going to therapy is a good idea. Your therapist can help identify when your mood changes, for example, and give you specific ideas as well as identify anxieties that may occur, help change negative thought patterns, manage stress, and help you cope with whatever is making you feel worse.
For me, there is always John Denver and Brahms.