TIPS FOR COMBATING SEASONAL DEPRESSION
egrets come less than an hour after overindulging in the otherwise regal Holiday turkey. At the time of consumption, the cuisine is delicious! But shortly, you feel as if someone has jerked the proverbial rug out from under you! You not only hurt physically, but you feel fatigued, and suddenly, your brain doesn’t function properly. You feel lethargic, and your mood goes into a tailspin.
For some, these feelings are short-term and result from digesting an amino acid L-tryptophan found abundantly in our feathered friends. However, for others, it’s the beginning of what mental health professionals call “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). According to Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It begins for most people in the fall and throughout the winter continues to zap energy to the point that no amount of kissing under the mistletoe can help cure the mulligrubs.
According to Mayo Clinic, the specific cause of SAD remains unknown. Some possible factors are:
Your biological clock. Reduced levels of sunlight in the fall and winter months. The decreased amount of the sun could disrupt your internal clock and make you feel depressed.
Serotonin is low. This neurotransmitter is a brain chemical that affects mood. Like your biological clock, serotonin is also affected by reduced sunlight.
Of course, there are numerous other apparent causes of depression. Some can be legitimately diagnosed as “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” while others are things that just make us sad. The loss of a loved one, a divorce, a life-altering event, and the memory of any number of things that happened during a previous holiday season can trigger a downcast mood.
Treatment for this type of depression is varied, and it includes but is not limited to light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy. Be careful not to dismiss that annual funk as simply a case of the “winter blues.” Get plenty of sunlight and create habits to keep your mood consistent throughout the year. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders.
We should take any kind of depression seriously. There are times in our life when we cannot help ourselves. So, never be afraid or ashamed to reach out for professional help.
Hopefully, this holiday season, you will not be “SAD.” You can croon with Andy Williams:
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistletoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year”
Lead Pastor at Riverpark Church
3232 E 70TH ST. | SHREVEPORT, LA
318.865.1110 | MARK@RIVERPARK.NET