Daylight Saving Time is near and as the days are already getting shorter, for many Americans, colder and darker months can bring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with them. Of course, when it comes to sunlight, our team at SUN Behavioral Health is uniquely qualified to help. We frequently encounter these tough emotional triggers in our patients as the fall and winter months approach. Here are a few time-tested strategies we recommend:
Know that you are not alone: The numbers don’t lie, and the feelings you’re feeling are perfectly normal. Don’t force a smile when it just isn’t there – it’s likely you’ll just make things worse.
Understand what you can (and can’t) control: You can’t do much about what other people say and do, or if the car breaks down, or if the weather wreaks havoc on your plans. So don’t stress about it. But you can control your actions and reactions, so be extra aware in how you're handling those situations.
Seek out the SUN: Do it literally (if sadness sets in, get 30 minutes of direct sunlight with a walk around your neighborhood) and figuratively (if deeper despair sets in, don't be afraid to seek out professional help).
Be thankful: It almost feels cliche to say, but practicing gratitude has been shown to reduce negative emotions like stress and improve connections to others. Focus your energy there instead of automatically defaulting to the negative.
Help others: Mark Twain once said, "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." As counter-intuitive as that may sound, making someone else feel good or helping them in some way, can be a very effective stress reliever and alleviate feelings of depression.
If you or someone you love is struggling with SAD, we can help. When the darkness of depression sets in, we can be your ray of SUN. You're not alone.