The Raphael Remedy

Feeling S.A.D. These Days?

by | Jun 7, 2017 | Wellness

It may not be raining everywhere but in New York we’ve had an inordinate amount of rain and cloudy weather. I stepped in the shower this morning and the floor felt ice cold. It’s June, for heaven’s sake!

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). I know I do. My husband doesn’t but he’s starting to catch on that it’s real and really affects me. Usually by the end of March I’m feeling pretty down and having trouble organizing myself. This year tricked us with warm, sunny weather in February but then hit us with a sneak attack of crummy weather in March, April, May, and now even June. If you’re feeling it too, read on. There are ways to combat the blues until the sun starts shining again.

Here are a few suggestions:

Turn on the lights!

Any lights can help dispel the darkness…but the popular LEDs may not be your best choice. Incandescent bulbs are a better option (if you can find them!) but special lights that mimic sunshine are your best bet. Even just 30 minutes while working at your desk can deliver good results.

Keep a Flexible Schedule

Nothing is worse than having to be indoors on the only sunny day of the week if you’re suffering the winter blues (especially in June!). Keep an eye on your weather app. If it looks like sunshine on the horizon try to arrange your schedule to get outside and enjoy it. Even 30 minutes outdoors during your lunch hour can give you a much-needed boost, so schedule your work and meetings accordingly if you can. The time invested outside in the sunshine will be well worth it.

Expose Some Skin

If you can get in the sun, be sure to expose some skin-without sunscreens. Our skin naturally converts sunshine to Vitamin D. Sunscreens will negate that effect. I usually use sunscreen on more sensitive areas like my face but leave my arms and legs without to get my vitamin D infusion. Just 15 to 20 minutes, or until your skin turns light pink will do the trick.

Try Essential Oils

Certain essential oils can provide a real boost in your mood. My favorites for S.A.D. are citrus oils. When my mother was hospitalized recently, I used lime oil to deal with the stress. I was amazed at how much it picked up my mood. Grapefruit is another citrus oil that will put a smile on your face. You can diffuse them in the house, put a drop or two in your water, or rub a drop or two in your hands and on the back of your neck. Pairing them with some peppermint enhances them as well. Doterra is the brand we use and recommend as there is strong science behind them. Their essential oils are Certified Pure, Therapeutic Grade, which means they’re harvested from plants and fruits grown without pesticides, subjected to rigorous testing for purity at three stages of production, and are safe to ingest. Not all essential oils are that pure so be very careful. Be sure to read labels on every oil to be sure that particular oil is for suitable for consumption. For example, some oils, like wintergreen, are for topical use only and not safe to ingest. (Please note also that citrus oils are photosensitive so never apply them right before sun exposure. Use only when you’ll have about 12 hours before going back in the sun.)

Getting started with essential oils can be confusing. To talk to a member of our team to see which oils may be helpful for you, please email us or give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

Get Thee Moving

I know, the dreary weather can make you want to curl up in a corner and sleep. But exercise can help to break you out of your funk. Of course, running and walking outside may not be too thrilling in the clouds but they can still help. A dance video with upbeat music can help as well. My hands down favorite is jumping on my Bellicon trampoline. It’s non-stop fun, a great workout, and really gets the endorphins pumping. It takes up so little room and some models come with foldable legs so having one in the house is a lot easier than a treadmill…and waaaay more fun!

Label Your Struggle

S.A.D. can feel like clinical depression and it may be hard to differentiate. If you find yourself struggling to function, speaking to a counselor for an evaluation of your symptoms would be a wise choice. If on the other hand, you know it’s connected with the weather, then labeling it for what it is – S.A.D. – and taking steps accordingly to keep it in check can be very helpful. If indeed you feel like a new person after sun exposure, it’s probably S.A.D. – and that’s good news. Of course, summer weather would be better news…but it will come. It always does. And if the sunny days remain few and far between, by maximizing the sunny days and getting outdoors and following some of the above suggestions you may find it has less impact.

Pray for Sunshine

That may sound corny, but why not? God loves to hear our prayers and connecting with Our Father in heaven is never wasted time. Prayer is powerful so let’s raise our eyes to heaven and ask for abundant sunshine!

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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