Baby, it's cold outside.

I realized something about myself in the last couple months. The amount of money I spend is directly correlated to my mental health. (shocker) And since winter last 365 days….I’ve had more than enough time to do some damage. Yikes…

You know how it is - a trip to Target (especially during COVID times) is a hot date to hold with yourself, and Amazon is JUST.SO.CONVENIENT.

I had to have the hard conversation with myself; why do you think buying things will make you happy? Because soy candles transport you to any other place you’d rather be in the midst of gloomy winter and daylight savings times? Nah…Spending my hard earned money is my coping mechanism and scapegoat from my reality. And currently I’m trying to escape from the fact that during this time of year, my mental health struggles. Sometimes, it’s easier to fall for a daily deal than it is to exercise, read a book, or call a friend. The thing is, I know i’m not the only one.

Anyway, I don’t want to spend this entire time making light of a very serious annual concern that occurs mostly (but not entirely) in young to middle aged women during the fall and winter months.

To put a clinical name to it, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Seasonal Depression, Is the monster we are talking about here. Symptomatically, SAD typically presents of sad feelings and lack of energy which perpetuates lethargy, fatigue, carb cravings, irritability, and lack of motivation…etc. etc. etc.

Sound familiar? It’s okay, you’re not alone, promise.

Of note, there is a difference between Seasonal depression and Clinical Depression. Both are very serious and may require medical attention. Seasonal depression dissolves once the weather warms up and the sun hangs around longer, clinical depression remains . It is important to recognize how regular these symptoms are for you, as this directs the course of treatment and management. It is also vitally important to discuss these feelings with a physician or trusted adult.

All of this info ^^^ is the nurse in me, reaching out to you as an educator and awareness expert.

My initial instinct is to offer tips and ways to help manage SAD, but if my goal as your health coach is to help facilitate lasting change, I’m not quite sure being told what to do is the direction to go.

Instead, as your coach, I’d like to take you through a sequence of questions to guide you in a healthy direction.

.

.

Do you often feel less motivated, sluggish or sad during the colder months?

.

.

If yes, can you describe more about how you are feeling?

If no, what helps you feel strong, encouraged? What habits do you have that give you purpose?

.

.

If you often feel less motivated, sluggish or sad, is there a specific time of day where you feel the lowest?

.

.

Is there a specific time of day where you feel the highest?

.

.

What have you done in the past to help your mental health? What worked well, what worked poorly?

.

.

What needs to be in place for you to continue to participate in the activities that make you feel the best?

.

.

.

What is the smallest thing you can do consistently in the next week to ensure you feel your best?

.

.

Remember, we are all in this together, and there is always room for growth.

In this space, there’s no shame in weekly Target therapy runs, or any other coping mechanism you have, because they are the best ones you know of right now. (And also, Target is the best).

From my kindred heart to yours,

Devon

**Disclaimer** As a health coach, I am a valuable resource in your desire to maintain or nourish your mental health. That being said, I cannot take the place of your PCP or your mental health provider. Although I can help you identify the signs and symptoms of SAD or Clinical Depression, It is my duty to be honest and recognize what services will benefit you more (coaching or clinical help) and direct you in that direction.

Further, Depression is a serious condition that can leave you feeling hopeless and alone. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, it is not something to be taken lightly. Below are several resources that can and should be utilized, as well as consistent follow up with your health care professional.

https://www.crisistextline.org/

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

1-800-273-8255

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

https://www.bethe1to.com/

#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, spreading the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope. Together, we can prevent suicide by learning to help ourselves, help others, seek consultation from trained providers (hotlines and clinicians) and to seek hospital care when necessary.

Resources

1. Attar-Levy, D. “Les dépressions saisonnières” [Seasonal depression]. Therapie vol. 53,5 (1998): 489-98.

2. Saeed, S A, and T J Bruce. “Seasonal affective disorders.” American family physician vol. 57,6 (1998): 1340-6, 1351-2.

3. Kurlansik, Stuart L, and Annamarie D Ibay. “Seasonal affective disorder.” American family physician vol. 86,11 (2012): 1037-41.

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All