Autumn is upon us. And while millions of people celebrate the start to the new season, many others experience the opposite. The cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is still up for debate, but some scientists believe that hormonal changes and lack of sunlight during Autumn and Winter trigger the condition. The result can leave the affected person depressed, fatigued, and prone to weight gain.
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or depressed state, there are some practical things you can do to shift back to a sunnier disposition.
This is obviously easier said than done. But the first step to combating a problem, is admitting that the problem actually exists. Ask yourself what you’re feeling, then follow by asking ‘why’ you’re feeling a certain way. Write down specific reasons for those feelings (I am sad about a specific thing vs. I just feel sad) and address them individually.
Rome was not built in a day, so don’t expect to solve every issue right away. Instead, give yourself time to identify a solution for each issue that affects you. Treat it like a budget: go over each item and take small steps to balance every thought and action. For example, if you’re struggling with weight gain, objectively identify what you’re eating, how much you’re exercising and adjust accordingly. Remember that it will take time and consistency to reach your desired goal.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
This might sound hokey, but try it anyway (you might just surprise yourself). Focusing on positive imagery, words and actions will help clear the ‘fog’ of depression, because you literally won’t have time to be sad. Take this choice a step further and outline a clear picture for the places you frequent, and the people you hang around. A brightly lit cafe in the morning feels very different from a dim bar at night. Friends and acquaintances who encourage and uplift you produce a different result than those who complain and drag you down all the time. This might mean deleting a few Facebook friends and unfollowing some folks on Instagram.
Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about managing anxiety and depression. There’s no shortage of credible information both on and offline. Start digging, cross-referencing and consulting the top experts in this field. Much of their work is readily available, and might help you take an objective look at the way you feel.
Take all that information and consult a professional. Most Mental Health Programs are covered by insurance. Do some research at your place of work, and take advantage of those health benefits you pay for. If you’re not employed, there are free programs available for low income and disadvantaged citizens. Help is out there. Do the research, and find a program that best works for you.
*Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods”