S.A.D. – It’s ironic that the Acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder turns out to be exactly what you don’t want to be!
No, you can’t just snap out of it like people may tell you to. No, it isn’t just all in your mind as others may say. And, no, you will not get over it in a few days – as if it were a virus you had caught.
If you are an online entrepreneur working from home who experiences symptoms of S.A.D., this article is for you. Keep reading to learn the major causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder and 4 simple solutions to combat the symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of S.A.D.?
S.A.D. is one of those weird physiological things that happen, and you may not even realize you have it. Clinical neuropsychologist Emily Kurlansik, PsyD, defines SAD as a type of depression in which:
… people experience feelings of sadness and low energy, especially around the winter months when the days are the shortest.“
Seasonal Affective Disorder creeps up on you as the seasons begin to change from bright, light, and warm to grey skies and colder weather. Those who have it can begin to dread winter, in particular, as they know that they will see an onset of their symptoms.
It even takes a turn for the worse as the hour taken away at Daylight Savings time, makes their sadness, depression, or gloominess worse.
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Some of the most common symptoms of S.A.D. include:
- Low energy
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Appetite changes
- Sleep disturbances
If you are an entrepreneur – such as a mom who works at home blogging, a father working from home in the marketing industry, a grandma selling online or a retiree making a side income selling Printables and digital products on Etsy – it is important that you are aware of the side effects of this condition and also how you can alleviate some of these symptoms to keep your life and business on track.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms
Disrupted sleep due to seasonal changes is one cause that can bring on SAD symptoms.
Working from home it can be tempting to turn over and lie in for a few extra hours or to lounge around on the sofa all day, but that is not going to do your business any good.
Tip: Stick to the schedule you make for yourself and keep the sleep problems to a minimum.
Another cause is lack of sunlight. During this season, the grey skies of winter produce less hours of light. This decrease in UV ray absorption affects the amount of serotonin and melatonin your brain produces.
These hormones are the neurotransmitters that help keep you balanced and happy. So, when your brain is producing a smaller amount of these hormones, your mood is in turn affected.
This affect comes in the form of symptoms like depression and anxiety, amongst others.
4 Solutions to Relieve Stress and Anxiety Caused by S.A.D.
SAD Solution #1 = Improving Sleep:
To improve sleeping patterns that are disrupted during this time of year, try sticking to the best sleep pattern for your circadian rhythm.
For example, going to bed at a regular time before 10 pm and rising with the light between 6am and 7 am. This has proven to improve sleep loss and symptoms of SAD.
SAD Solution #2 = Increasing Exposure to Sunlight:
To counteract the lack of sunlight, a sufferer can make sure that they spend time outside.
Performing activities like walking, gardening, cycling, or exercising outdoors can help increase exposure to sunlight. Access to sunlight can also be achieved indoors by spending more time near a window or a skylight.
Another ingenious way to increase absorption of light is by using specialty lamps that create artificial light that simulates sunlight.
Experts refer to this as light therapy for seasonal affective disorder, or phototherapy. They believe it can alter the brain chemicals associated with mood and sleep.
A homepreneur -someone who works from home – who suffers from SAD symptoms, should make sure they have enough light and sleep to keep their mood in check and the sluggishness at bay.
SAD Solution #3 = Limit disruptive Substance Intake:
And of course – we all know how caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns – so no drinking coffee all day and drinks before bed.
Try to limit both liquids and eat a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables.
SAD Solution #4 = Take time to Socialize:
One important thing that you can do as an entrepreneur who works from home is to try to add more socialization into your day. Have phone calls with friends and family, arrange a coffee date once a week, have lunch with friends, have facetime with friends and loved ones who live far away.
Spending too much time alone when feeling down is not good for your mental state of mind.
Here Is a Quick SAD Solutions Summary That Shows You How to Help Seasonal Affective Disorder:
- Ensure you have a regular sleeping pattern. Begin your day as the sun rises and end your day when the sun is down to improve symptoms like moodiness and lack of energy.
- Moving a desk in front of a window or adding a specialty light box to the desktop and use it regularly to increase your exposure to light.
- Limit substances like caffeine and alcohol and incorporate a healthy diet into your daily routine.
- Take the time to socialize with friend and family to import your mood and wellbeing.
As your own boss you must be proactive about ensuring you are not ignoring symptoms and burying yourself in work. Be a good boss to yourself and give yourself some time off work to relax, listen to music, go to the gym, and generally wind down.
Don’t let SAD rule your life. Make sure you take these steps to get your life and feelings under control…… Summer will arrive eventually!