As the seasons change, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s coming: fall festivals, pumpkin carving, foliage, hot apple cider. Every season brings fun new activities and changes, but some seasons are harder for certain people due to Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.”
Research hasn’t proven what the cause of SAD is, but scientists believe it has something to do with the shorter days of the winter season. The lack of sunlight in the colder months can alter our internal rhythms to the point where it can affect our mental health. However, there are ways to prepare yourself. Here are 4 ways to get yourself mentally prepared for the colder months:
Try light therapy
One of the most recommended ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder is to use light therapy (also known as phototherapy). You can purchase a lightbox to use at home. These light therapy boxes shine bright light, which mimics the sun. Since SAD is believed to be connected to a lack of sunlight in the winter, many folks find that light therapy can help relieve their symptoms. As always, make sure to check with a doctor before starting light therapy to make sure that it’s the right choice for you.
Get up at a different time
Since there is less sunlight in the winter, try shifting your wake-up time to maximize your time in the sun. You can set your alarm to wake up closer to when the sun comes up, so you experience more daylight. You can also get your body used to the morning light in the mornings leading up to winter.
Winter can seem to last forever. If you can break up the monotony with a getaway, you should go for it. Vacations aren’t always affordable, but try to give yourself a bunch of little things to look forward to. It could be visiting a friend, going to a concert or event you enjoy, or even a staycation where you focus on self-care and treating yourself well. Try to plan out a few little rewards for yourself before the season starts and you start feeling down. If you know you have those things to look forward to, it can help to get you through the fall & winter.
Find a therapist
You don’t have to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder on your own. If you want a dedicated place where you can go to discuss how you’re feeling, this might be the perfect time to start or restart therapy. Your therapist can help you come up with more personalized ways to manage any changes and can give you a safe space to feel your feelings.
A special warm welcome to our newest staff members…
Courtney Winger, MSW, LISW
Courtney has a strong background in community mental health, working with youth, adolescents, and adults, and has experience treating a variety of mental health and substance use disorders. Genuine, direct, and compassionate, she is committed to working alongside her clients to help them grow and progress.
Jackie Schwartz, MSW, LISW-S
Jackie joins the Holistic family as a seasoned clinician with 14+ years of experience in private practice with an advanced specialization in crisis and dual diagnosis. In addition, Jackie has extensive clinical expertise in a variety of settings including mental health and substance abuse, crisis work, community mental health, and commercial insurance.
Natalie Waters, MSW, LISW-S
Natalie has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Her clinical expertise is helping clients organize and understand thoughts, emotions and behavior patterns in order to effectively manage depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD and a number of other mental health concerns.
Loraine Maguire, MSW, LISW-S
As a certified health coach and a certified case manager, Loraine is an avid believer in the Holistic approach to well-being. Her specialty areas include Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Coaching, and Solution-Focused work. In addition to being a therapist, Loraine is also a Group Fitness, Spinning and Pilates Instructor.
Kimberly Grenier, MA, LPCC
Kimberly is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who received her Master of Mental Health Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS.
Kimberly utilizes a collaborative approach to provide personalized, client-centered counseling in a warm, supportive environment.
Kimberly received advanced training in several evidence based treatment modalities including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, and Solution Focused therapies.
Her clinical interests and specialties include: Post Traumatic Stress/ Trauma, Relationship distress, Disordered eating/ Body image concerns, Stress and Anxiety, Self-Esteem concerns, Grief and loss, Life transitions, Family of origin concerns, and Identity and purpose questions/concerns.
Below are Kimberly’s staff recommendations:
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff
Do you struggle with being kind to yourself? How about just being compassionate with yourself? Dr. Kristin Neff wrote this book for people just like you. This book explains helpful, practical ways to stop criticizing yourself all of the time and to build up your sense of self-compassion. Instead of being on the emotional rollercoaster of self-criticism, you can enjoy a happy and fulfilled life.
Sarah Wilson, the author of this book, was inspired to write about anxiety after reading the Chinese proverb: “The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.” She explores anxiety triggers, treatment options, trends, interviews fellow anxiety sufferers, and offers tips for living with anxiety.
“Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.”
At Holistic Consultation, we are dedicated to treating the whole person in a welcoming, safe and supportive environment.
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