Long Nights and Short Days

Here in northern Illinois, winter decided to come a little early this year. We have already seen some significant snow and record-breaking cold days have set in. We also moved back to standard time so the sun feels like an elusive lover whose time you pine for but never seem to get.

As such, those who are impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD are already feeling the effects. SAD is a form of depression that often comes and goes with the seasons. SAD is reported to be more common in women and young people and can often be experienced on top of other mental health conditions making them appear more severe at this time of the year.

Some symptoms of SAD might include

  • Low energy
  • Sleeping too much (or an inability to sleep a regular schedule)
  • Feeling unmotivated or uninterested in activities that you normally would do
  • Food cravings and weight gain
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or otherwise generally blah (that’s a clinical term for those of you who are wondering)

Generally, the things that help symptoms the most are the hardest to do, such as eating healthy, getting some sunlight, and getting adequate exercise. Some people find that light therapy can help. A light therapy box can range in price from $30 to a few hundred dollars. If you are finding that symptoms are interfering with daily life such as calling in sick to work or school, isolating from friends and family, or having thoughts of death or suicide, please seek professional counseling help. If you are already diagnosed with a mental illness and it feels “worse” right now, please communicate that to the professionals that are working with you or your family member. There are things that can be done.

In the meantime, many of us will already be counting down the days until Spring. Personally, I already have March 19, 2020 marked on my calendar.

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