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Feeling SAD with seasonal changes

The room that once lit up in the warmth of the sunlight faded into endless shades of gray. The emotions of the vivid warm days feel like a passing memory and all that lingers inside is a gloomy feeling. Everything feels draining and the rain seems never-ending.

With each day passing the sun disappears a little earlier. Some days it feels like the sun never rose and time seemingly stands still. The dullness slowly wrapped itself around you, trapping you in its deepest part. So, you find yourself more at home, wanting to hide in the comforting warmth of your blanket trying to escape this freezing sensation.

The sadness and weariness you are experiencing with the arrival of the cold season are referred to as winter blues. Yet, when these feelings start to interfere with your daily life and functioning it can develop into a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is a combination of biologic and mood disturbances with a seasonal pattern. It typically occurs during autumn and winter, passing once the warm seasons, spring or summer, arrive. It might show up in the form of sleeping issues, change in your eating habits, feeling depressed, or having low energy. It is also linked to less exposure to sunlight, which naturally occurs during the colder season when you spend more time indoors. Everyone can experience SAD, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

There are several things you can do against SAD:

Pause. Give yourself time to connect with your emotions and feelings. Listen to the signs your body is sending you and show yourself some self-compassion. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to be going through a tough time. Just like it’s going to be spring again you will find the sun within yourself again, too. Yet, you cannot just wait for spring to come, you have to take action to get better.

The truth is you cannot change the season or the time the sun rises and sets. All you can do is try to absorb the natural light and the sun as much as possible. Go outside, when the sun is out and embrace the soft touch of the sunlight. Soak in all the warmth that surrounds your body. The sun can feel more healing than you can imagine. If there is not enough sunlight, you can also try to replace the missing sun outside with artificial light, in the form of light therapy. Still, you should generally try to go out as much as possible even if it's cold and gloomy outside, going out for fresh air is always beneficial for your mental and physical health.

Try to embrace the wintertime as a time to slow down. Use the time to wind down, enjoy the coziness of your home and spend time inside with your loved ones. Make your home the most comfortable space for staying inside. There are also plenty of things to do inside, try to initiate different activities to socialize at home such as movie nights, cooking together, creative evenings, game nights, etc. Enjoy winter for what it is and what makes it special. You can also use the time to plan things for the warmer months. You might want to plan a trip or activities you could do once it gets warmer again. Anticipation is one of the greatest joys.

The cold season can feel like a frozen time for anyone and it’s alright to feel this way. Although the world turned gray, try to embrace the wonders of the wintertime. Try to take action to become your own light during this time of the year.

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