Sad thoughts. They just get in the way sometimes. Unfortunately, for many the term SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. The change in seasons and the lack of sunlight can truly bring on more than a few extra sad thoughts. It may lead to depression episodes and even fatal consequences. While I try to keep things upbeat here, as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I wanted to touch on this subject and discuss how to combat SAD.
Sad Thoughts: Dealing With Seasonal Affective Disorder
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Let's just be honest and say sad thoughts happen. Even when you don't want to admit this, whether it is depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, postpartum struggles, or simply the seasonal issues of SAD, sad thoughts do occur. This is not a struggle to ignore or pretend doesn't happen.
If you are struggling, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
There are people out there waiting and available to help. If you are struggling and want to find ways to get past this hard time each year, below are some tips that have been proven effective.
Seek your physician's recommendations.
If you are already on a medical regimen for mental health care, it is important to be in contact with your practitioner during the winter months when SAD can bring on more problems and prominent sad thoughts. This can mean additional medications for increased anxiety, more regular counseling sessions, or adjustments in your treatment. I don't believe that medication is always the solution; however, I believe that intervention with a physician or counseling is often a solution and should not be overlooked.
Eat right and get exercise.
What we put into our bodies really can change how we feel emotionally. It's so very important to work hard on eating healthier. This is especially important when we are feeling down emotionally. (I know, because I struggle with emotional eating.) Having sad thoughts as a result of SAD is often made worse by bad food habits. Make sure your diet is full of antioxidant-rich foods. Don't skip the water, and limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
Get moving with exercise to boost the good hormones in your system that combat depression. Take a walk, get to the gym, or simply dance around your living room. Do whatever it takes to get moving.
Get more Vitamin D.
Sunshine truly makes a difference in our mood. This is, in fact, one of the reasons that SAD can be a problem for many who live in climates with more snowfall and fewer sunny days, like here in Wisconsin. I know I don't get enough Vitamin D naturally, so I take a Vitamin D supplement. If you are unable to go outside to bask in the sunshine, an investment in artificial sunlight lamp is an option that is the last resort.
Reach out to trusted friends.
I have found that just sharing with others who also suffer from depression or SAD can make it a lot easier to deal with the sad thoughts that accompany depression and anxiety. Not only do you no longer feel alone, but you feel less guilt. Knowing you are not the only one struggling at that moment helps a ton.
If your spouse is supportive (and I hope they are), reach out to talk this out with them. Call in a favor from your babysitter and sit down to talk things out, or go for a date night. Spend some time on yourself and just reach out. Sometimes we simply need to admit when we need help.
Sad thoughts come at many times in our life. They are part of being human, and not just part of Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, as we face this cold and often dark winter season, I know that many of my friends are struggling with SAD. Reaching out today, I want to offer the reminder that you are not alone. Reach out for help. You are not alone with your sad thoughts today.
These suggestions should not replace professional care or treatment. I am not a mental health provider. These tips are shared based on personal experience and research.