SAD: Seasonal Affect Disorder-More Common Than You Think

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.

2013 Oil Change
Year-end Reflections

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