Summary: Fall is beautiful! But it can also be a sad time of year as the sunshine recedes—especially for those of us who fight seasonal depression. I share two strategies (physical and emotional) that have helped me cope in today's post.
It's that time of year again: Crisp apples baked into pies, fuzzy sweaters wrapped around us for warmth, bright hues of burnt orange, fiery red and golden brown blazing on the treetops. It's fall!
When I was a kid, fall was my favorite time of year. I loved jumping into piles of leaves from my swing set, and carving pumpkins with my family. But as I progressed through elementary school, fall become a less and less happy time for me.
It wasn't until I was in high school that I started hearing about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal depression. That really resonated with me, so I began to study a little about it—and then a little about how to treat it. Depending on what's going on in my life, I've had years with almost no affect and years with pretty debilitating depression. And I've had years that I would categorize as somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum. Luckily, this year and last have both fallen (so far) into the lighter, happier category.
What's responsible for that?
The last two years have not been without their challenges: Last year, my home was hit with severe flooding after Hurricane Ike remnants raged across the Midwest; I was later hospitalized twice for illness. This year, my grandmother has been (successfully!) battling heart problems, and I recently lost an uncle to an accidental fire. The state of the global economy is no laughing matter, either. Yet my perspective remains grounded and relatively positive.
The reasons are two-fold:
(1) I've been focusing on physical strategies—like taking my vitamins (especially Vitamin D, which is often in depletion in the less sunny months across much of the U.S.), exercising and eating organically as regularly as possible, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night as often as I can.
(2) I've been practicing GRATITUDE.
Someone once told me that negativity and gratitude cannot easily coexist. Since that day, I've made a practice of counteracting pervasive negativity by thinking of something for which I'm thankful. It's easy! And it only gets easier the more I do it.
When our cognitive functions are impaired for any reason, we lose the ability to communicate what and how we really want to communicate. Making strides to shift our perspectives can help us reorient to get back on track and say what we need to say (no matter what the weather does!). Today, I'm thankful that you're reading this. And to you, I say, "Happy fall!"
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009