SAD: Seasonal Affect Disorder-More Common Than You Think - January 15, 2013
January…a time for resolutions, renewal, new starts, new budgets for many businesses and new jobs for those December grads. It also triggers some post-holiday blues for some people, and that can be often linked to SAD: Seasonal Affect Disorder. I thought I would write a little about this to hopefully increase awareness. The news is brimming with attention to mental illness these days with the horror that descended upon the tiny town of Newtown, CT. I grew up just a few miles from there, and have dear friends that knew some of the victims personally. Not all mental illness falls into this category, there are countless forms, and many being situational, and in the case of SAD, seasonal. I want to become more active in increasing awareness and hopefully supporting solutions to this epidemic.
According to staff at the Mayo Clinic, SAD is defined as “a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.”
I have been talking about this disorder lately with clients, a couple of them later went to talk to their physician, were diagnosed and started the light therapy, one for as little as 15 minutes. They reported rapid results and a new energy and optimism they had not felt in a long time. In fact, the team members also reported a significant difference on one leader’s demeanor and the quality of the conversation they had with them noticeably improved.
This time of year can be high stress for businesses, and if our leaders are just not feeling up to par, there may be a logical explanation as to what may be helpful. I am looking forward to the day when we can talk openly about these things and offer possible solutions that can make big differences in how we impact those around us.
Come on 'lil buddy
It’s that time of year again. How does it go from July on the beach to Halloween, to Thanksgiving and Christmas carols in one blink of an eye? My mother always told me the older you get the faster time goes by. When you are ten years old that sounds like one big fat lie. A year is 1/1oth of my life so NOT so quickly does it go by. But now a year is 1/48th of my life and it truly is a flash. My 82 year old Dad scoffs at me with his math. Point taken…
So what on earth can we be thankful for? It is a drizzly rainy day today, it took me 90 minutes to travel 26 miles this morning in the DC metro area, and I left at 6:15 am, thinking I’d give myself plenty of time to get to my Arlington meeting. The positive spin is “I was early for me meeting and it was really successful!”
I am fighting a cold and have consumed massive amounts of Airborne to keep it at bay. Not sure who is winning the fight, and positive spin, “Look out I am on the loose!”
In coaching school at the renown Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Certification Program, they taught us a concept that on any given topic you can choose to spin it down, finding the worst in a situation, or spin it up, finding the gold. There certainly are times when I find it hard to see rainbows and sunshine, but I do try to find the positive spin. I sort of just popped out of a phase where I have been feeling the change of season and the end of daylight savings sluggishness. I am reminded of the condition SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) and the concept of the “Happy Light” that helps perk up and augment the shorter days. My office is my finished basement, and while my daughter Lexie and friend Danielle have made it darling, it is dark, and I was spending a lot of time alone writing. Another friend told me to go sit outside in the sun and MAN what a difference that made! So the moral of the story is that we need sunlight, and vitamin D! If you are feeling unusually down and unmotivated, there is likely a fixable reason.
Don’t settle for hibernation if you don’t have to!
Christmas season…the neighborhood is already brimming with Christmas With the Crank’s competition. Ugh, it just all feels like work to me some times. AND the positive spin is – oh how lovely the house looks when it is decorated! My baby Kate will be five years old three days after Christmas, she LOVES this season, it is ALL about her, and what is there not to love about that?
This year on Facebook I saw friends counting down the days with “things I am thankful for” lists which are inspiring really. So here is my Top Ten Thankful’s for 2011:
- Grandma’s and Grandpa’s for Kate
- Social Media for connecting me with long-time friends and new superstars
- Red wine (it’s just so good)
- Work that I love
- The smell of Pumpkin Spice (had to throw something fluffy in there)
- A lifetime of development ahead.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.