The American Family Physician Association reports that between four and six percent of adults have been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affect Disorder or SAD. Another 20 percent may have mild or undiagnosed symptoms of SAD. Are you one of the sufferers of this disorder? If so, here are some helpful tips to help you get through this difficult time of year.
Alone for the Holidays
The holidays are a common time for women over 50 to experience SAD. The holidays can be especially rough if your children are grown and unable to get back home for family celebrations. It’s also hard to watch other families as they prepare to have relatives come in from all over the country. Though you are happy for them, it’s natural to feel lonesome and alone.
To counteract holiday depression, try using some of the latest technology to get in touch with your kids who are away from home. Skype offers free video conferencing. Most home computers are able to run Skype, and this is a great way to visit with people, no matter if they are on the other side of the globe.
Another way to beat holiday blues is to reminisce. This is a great time to get out the photo albums and old home movies. Looking back on all the great times you had in the past with your kids might help you to feel proud of all they’ve accomplished due to your love and motherly support over the years.
Use your solitary holiday time to make some beautiful crafts. If you knit or crochet, why not spend your time making something your children will cherish for years to come? Spending the time to make something handmade will make you feel closer to your loved ones.
Lack of Sun
One real cause of SAD is the lack of adequate sunlight during the winter months. The symptoms are not in your imagination, and there are concrete steps you can take. Why not visit a tanning salon to get a very light tan, and some exposure to UV light? The color on your skin and the light exposure will improve your mood in surprising ways.
Another way to feel less trapped in winter’s doldrums is to watch movies with sunny settings. It’s easy to start feeling a little more sunny in your disposition if you’re watching movies like “Six Days, Seven Nights,” “Cast Away,” or your choice of old Elvis Presley flicks.
There is some sun in the winter, and you should try to take advantage of what little there is. Place a bench or chair on your back deck where you can enjoy a little sun on your face during the afternoon. If you add a birdfeeder and some seed, you’ll soon be visited by cardinals and other birds who will keep you company. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to be pent up inside all winter long. Bundle up and grab those rays.
If you’re truly feeling depressed, and you can’t seem to shake the feeling no matter what you do, talk to your doctor. She may have more ideas to help turn your frown into a smile this winter.