Balanced Living Newsletter

Dealing with Seasonal Slumps

For some people, less sunlight and shorter days can cause a seasonal slump, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that happens regularly at certain times of the year. It usually starts in late fall or winter and lasts into the spring. Seasonal depression can also occur in spring or summer, but it is less common.

Recognizing the Symptoms

SAD symptoms are typically consistent with those that occur with depression. This can include a depressed mood, loss of energy, increased sleep, anxiety, irritability and desire to avoid social contact.

These symptoms are more common in SAD than in other forms of depression:

  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Weight gain

Getting Help

If these symptoms are causing disruptions in your daily life, contact your primary care provider or find a mental health professional. Treatments for SAD include traditional therapy and antidepressant medications.
Light therapy, daily 30-minute exposure to a lightbox that simulates sunlight, has also shown promise in treating SAD.

Holiday Travel

The stresses of holiday travel can take a toll on your mental health. And it’s no surprise, with congested roads, overbooked planes and increased fares for hotels and rental cars.

Whether you have a long drive or flight ahead of you, a little extra planning can help your holiday spirit. Packing ahead of time can help you avoid the stress of doing it all last minute. Use a list to make sure you’ve covered all the must-haves!

Check out these simple tips to keep you safe, sound and sane.  

Holiday Perfectionism 

Many of us are susceptible to a bit of perfectionism around the holidays. Having a vision of what the holidays “should” look like can add unnecessary pressure to the already hectic holiday season.

To keep some of this stress at bay, set realistic expectations. This can help you avoid disappointment and going overboard. Be prepared, but try not to let preparation take over everything.

Try to remember that most people are happy to be around friends or family, enjoying good food, drinks and the sight of kids opening gifts.