It’s almost spring! Depending on where you live, a groundhog predicted that spring was on its way (LWI’s local groundhog said winter. We do not accept this).
That means it’s time to break away from winter and start with spring : Easter, Spring cleaning, Spring Break, Mardi Gras – it’s kinda party time (yes cleaning can be a party!) With Spring comes a change not only in the weather but in a lot of emotions.
People often associate SAD (seasonal affective disorder) with being a winter- based condition. The truth is that SAD can be brought on by any season – in some cases SAD is triggered by an event in the person’s life, and therefore their SAD coordinates with the anniversary of the event.
Other mood disorders like Bipolar and Anxiety can have their high seasons as well – usually due to a past trauma or past episode that they are reminded of every year.
It is important to keep track of your moods or SAD episodes to help predict future ones and to help you and your support team manage your SAD or other mood disorder. Here are our tips for keeping a handle on your SADness:
- Track moods. Use a phone app, diary or even a manual calendar. Make a note of times when your mood is brought really down, or brought back up. Add details beyond the date and time such as activities you were doing, where you were and who you were with. Even the food you were eating could in some cases play a role. These details help you and your team to figure out if you have a specific trigger.
- Keep your healing tools on hand. If you use Light therapy, keep the lamps out all year round. Likewise, keep situation-based medications on you at all times (like quick-dissolve lorazepam) even if you are having a good phase.
- If you know you have a sad season, preemptively book checkups and checkins for that season with your doctor or psychologist. This way, if you need an adjustment in medication, or you need other medical assistance you can get it faster. It also allows your doctor to monitor you and help with your overall treatment.
- Let friends know. Let your close family and friends know about your SAD. Prepare them, and let them know what works or what doesn’t work and what you need during that time. Some people need to spend more time out with family and friends – while others just need to stay in and ride it out with only one or two people around for company. You may need help with household chores- or maybe that’s just not a period where you are the person they should call for help as you are focused on other things. Just be honest and open with those around you.
- Book off work. If you always have a bad time in summer, or in December or when the snow melts – use your vacation time. FOr some, maintaining work is helpful, but for others who find themselves unable to function, having vacation time to pull from will allow you to take your bad days off – or take a few days or weeks off at a time to deal with your SAD. Whichever method works for you, follow it.