Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), affects many Canadians as the days get shorter, darker, colder, and we spend more time inside. You might notice you are more fatigued than usual, there is a change in your appetite, you have increased irritability or sadness, and worst of all, you can’t necessarily pinpoint a cause. If you find this happens to you year after year, usually around the same time, it might be an indication that you are suffering from SAD.
It's nothing to be ashamed of, it’s nothing that you caused, and it’s not something that you have to go through alone. There are some simple things you can do on your own to attempt to treat SAD, including:
- Spending more time outside during the day.
- Spending more time near sunny windows when indoors.
- Get physically active to help relieve stress.
- If you’re taking a vacation, visit somewhere warm and sunny.
- Invest in a sun lamp and use it after the sun goes down.
Of course, as with most forms of depression, there is only so much you can do on your own. The above suggestions aren’t cures, they can merely help to alleviate some of the symptoms. Speaking with your doctor of pharmacist should also be a priority. They can help you sort through your symptoms and help you decide what additional steps you can take to help you.
Therapy and counselling also help, even if you think that you have nothing to talk about. Therapists can help you make sense of the emotional component of SAD, and help you develop strategies to release your negative thoughts and feelings in healthy ways.
Not sure where to start when looking for a therapist? ARTA Benefit Plan members have access to Inkblot, an online counselling service that specializes in exactly these kinds of concerns, and more. You can learn more about the service and sign up here:
If you have questions about seasonal depression or mental health in general, you can always talk to your ARTARx pharmacist. They can help point you in the right direction to receive help.