Fall in the Colorado mountains. What a wonderful time of year. The Aspen trees are changing into the beautiful, brilliant gold that most people only get to experience in pictures and screen savers. The underbrush and scrub oak are like a quilted blanket of dark red and orange. Temperatures are dropping and the days are crisp and clear. The sun is lower in the sky as the days grow shorter. The mountain peaks have already had their first veil of snow appear on their caps.
For some this is a welcome change, signaling the transition from summer to winter. However, for others it can be a very difficult time of year. Some people start to experience a major change in mood and may experience some emotional lows. These emotional difficulties affect everyone differently. For some it can be a couple days of feeling sad or not quite themselves. Others may experience weeks of emotional disruption.
Some common changes people experience may include, starting to eat more, sleep patterns may be disrupted, you may feel exhausted or low on energy even after a full night sleep. Your concentration and desire to engage in things you usually enjoy are lacking. You may be irritable or become easily frustrated. All of these can be signs of depression. These symptoms may only show up in your life at certain times of the year, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that may present with symptoms that come on quickly and don’t make sense. According to the American Psychiatric Association:
“SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning. However, it can be treated. About 5 percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year. It is more common among women than men.”
For more information about Seasonal Affective Disorder visit, https://www.psychiatry.org/.
You may not be experiencing every/any side effect listed above but we all face emotional challenges from time to time. It can be very helpful to be aware of our emotions and process through them when they are difficult. We all need to practice some good self-care once in a while.
Tips For Self-Care
If you are experiencing emotional difficulties there are a number of ways to take care of yourself depending on what you need. Here are just a few suggestions.
- Make an appointment with a psychotherapist
- Talk to your primary medical doctor about how you are feeling
- Make an effort to engage in things you enjoy
- Get outside at least once a day for a walk/exercise
- Make an appointment for a massage
- Make a coffee or dinner plan with a friend
- Try to keep a regular sleep schedule
- Practice meditation
- Enjoy some sunshine
- Limit alcohol and caffeine use
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take time for yourself when you need it
- Be patient with yourself
It is not always easy to remember to take care of ourselves. Especially when life gets busy. This is one of the reasons we tend to be surprised when we stop and take a minute to realize we have not been feeling our best. Whether you are feeling the impacts of the season’s changing or some stress from your daily responsibilities, remember to slow down and take some time to evaluate what you need and take good care of yourself. You are worth it!
We are grateful to our guest blogger for this month, MaryMike Haley. She is the clinical director of Aspire Recovery for Women and has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over twenty-five years, specializing in family issues, addiction counseling, post-traumatic stress, and ketamine integration therapy. Contact Info: MaryMichael Haley, MA, LAC, CCTP, firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Satori Integrative Medicine, our services include integrative medicine, ketamine and lidocaine infusions, IV supplements, and medical acupuncture. We encourage our patients to incorporate lifestyle practices into daily life as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for: major depression, the depressed phase of bipolar disorder (bipolar depression), postpartum depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and addiction.
If you or someone you know suffers from any of these conditions and this approach to health and wellness resonates with you, please contact us for more information.