Tackling Winter Blues: Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

When Vancouver’s skies get grey and the rain doesn’t seem to stop, many people start to feel down. This isn’t just a case of the “rainy day blues”; it’s a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As winter approaches and daylight hours shrink, this condition sneaks in, impacting not just how we feel, but also how we sleep, eat, and connect with others.

What’s Going On with SAD?

SAD messes with our mood, energy, and daily routines. While scientists believe it has to do with reduced sunlight affecting our internal body clock, the root cause isn’t entirely clear. For some, it might link back to personal traumas or current stresses. Others might just be wired this way. But there’s hope!

Tools to Help You Fight Back

  1. EMDR: Think of this as mental decluttering. EMDR helps process unsettling memories or feelings linked to the darker months, allowing for clearer, brighter thoughts.
  2. Somatic Experiencing: Feel like the seasonal change hits you physically? This method helps you tune into your body, letting go of pent-up stress and aligning your body and mind.
  3. Internal Family Systems: This helps you explore and understand the different emotions and thoughts that pop up during these seasons. It’s like having a chat with yourself, helping make winter a bit warmer inside.

DIY Strategies for SAD:

  1. Light Therapy: Think of it as bottled sunshine. A light therapy box can mimic sunlight and boost your mood.
  2. Vitamin D: Since we miss out on sunlight, vitamin D supplements can be a game-changer. Always ask a doctor first!
  3. Get Moving: Dance, jog, or even just take a walk. Movement boosts feel-good chemicals in our brain.
  4. Stay Calm with Mindfulness: Simple breathing exercises or even yoga can keep stress in check.
  5. Routine is Key: Keeping a regular sleep, eat, and work schedule helps keep SAD at bay.
  6. Chat and Connect: Being with friends and family can be the best antidote to feeling isolated.
  7. Seek Expert Help: If winter gets too tough, therapists and counselors are there to help.
  8. Embrace the Outdoors: Even if it’s cloudy, outdoor time does wonders.
  9. Eat Right: Foods rich in Omega-3s, like fish or nuts, can boost mood.
  10. Create: Painting or writing can help express what words can’t.
  11. Write It Down: Jotting down feelings can be a release, and also helps you track what’s working.
  12. Try MBSR: It’s a program that uses mindfulness to combat stress, making winter feel a bit less heavy.

In a nutshell, winter can be tough. But with the right tools, strategies, and support, you don’t have to go through it alone. It’s all about finding what works for you, and embracing the brighter side of those darker days. If you are ready to start your healing journey, contact us to book a 15-minute discovery consultation with one of our therapists.

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