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  • Durel Allen

Got the SADs? Here's what you should know



Have you noticed changes in your mood and general well-being with the change of the seasons? For many people (approximately 2 to 3% of Canadians), the changing of the seasons has a significant impact on their mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year. Symptoms include (but not limited to):

  • Feeling despair

  • Changes in weight

  • Loss of appetite

  • Loss of interest in activities

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Thoughts of suicide/self-harm

With the clocks falling back an hour over the weekend, we're even more vulnerable to the impact of seasonal changes on our mental and emotional health. Our sleep cycle is disrupted; there are fewer daylight hours, which impacts our mood; our activity levels decrease due to the weather - all of these factors are necessary to maintain proper emotional and mental hygiene. It is no wonder how much seasonal changes can be disruptive.


Here are some practical ways to address some of your symptoms:


  • Make a plan of various activities that you can do outdoors throughout the season. This will give you access to sunlight, and enjoying nature can help to decrease stress hormones.

  • Open curtains during the daytime

  • Plan a brief vacation to warmer, sunnier climates

  • Eat a balanced diet

  • Create a comfortable and optimal space for sleep by regulating the temperature and sounds in the room, and having comfortable and supportive bedding

  • Get therapy to support you through distressing thoughts and emotions associated with SAD

  • Seek medical help for more severe symptoms, especially if there have been pre-existing vulnerabilities to depression.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of SAD, contact your doctor. If you're interested in therapy to help you address what you're experiencing, feel free to call 416-688-5274 for an initial consultation.


References


CAMH - Seasonal Affective Disorder


Canadian Mental Health Association - Seasonal Affective Disorder


#SAD #SeasonalAffectiveDisorder #Depression #MentalHealth #Therapy

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