Winter & S.A.D.

by - January 12, 2018

 It's a chilly winter for Ohio, or at least it has been since December 21st rolled around, and my Seasonal Affective Disorder has kicked into high gear since then too. For those who don't know, Season Affective Disorder is when the chilly days roll in and so does your "temporary" depression. Now I say temporary because in the definition of this disorder it says that your mood changes to a depressive like state though your mental health is "normal" the rest of the year. These depressive like actions of sleeping more, having less energy, and others are what some people say they have during winter. Even during summer it can affect you by increasing your anxieties. Wild right?
 For a long time people were skeptical about this disorder- but now this is an actual classified disorder and surprisingly common. A woman at work and I were discussing how our moods changed now that it was cold and I told her about SAD and how everything she was describing fit it- and quiet possibly she could have it. Actually 1.4% of people in sunny Florida have it and 9.9% of people in Alaska have it.
 There are actually many ways you can cope with this but I wanted to tell you all about how to cope with it and hopefully effectively battle it the one way I do. I bring this up now because I've realized that I sort of let it kick my butt a little bit more than I'd like to admit. But I've figured out a few ways that have helped me so far feel better during these negative degree days and nights.
 First off, I have a sun lamp now! I asked my mom for one for christmas and I've used it here and there when I've felt like it's needed. Essentially what a sun lamp does is when you sit a foot away from it (I have mine set up about 3 feet from me) and keep your eyes open but not stare at it, it can help you. Since the sun sets earlier in the winter, having this little light with you will help you feel overall better and not so gloomy because of the darker days. It's basically a temporary fix you can get for a few weeks until the natural sun light comes back in spring. You know how you feel better after laying in the sun for half an hour while on the beach or at the pool? This will give you the same effect.
 The there ways you can look further into are using carefully timed melatonin, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and ionized-air administration. Now I'm no therapist (yet) but I have heard good things about cognitive-behavioral therapy and using melatonin so you don't sleep too much but get just enough of a good rest. You can further research those yourself if you'd like and try more, please email me if you find anything else that you've found to help. The only unconventional thing I've found is buying lots of plants. But that's also sort of been a bummer for me because I'll see my warm green plants and it'll make me want to take a walk- only to realize I can't go walk around campus in -2 degree weather.
 But overall I've been using my sun lamp for 60 minutes every other day, during the same time I give my plants a little bit of sun too with a little grower lamp I bought off Amazon. 2018 is the year I get even more in touch with my mental health and try to get a green thumb.

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