“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”Psalm 40: 1-3— NLT
Earlier last week as my dog and I were driving home from having coffee with a friend, I suddenly became tearful, you know the kind that you can feel from deep in your chest. I felt so sad. But why? Nothing was different about our drive, and we have coffee with my friend several times a week. I brushed the feeling off.
Then later that same evening as I was comfy in my recliner watching TV, sadness and tears welled up from deep inside again. Now what, I thought. But this time as I looked at the calendar I thought, oh boy, time-change is coming, that’s what’s wrong with me.
It happens every year from fall time-change until spring time-change. Out of nowhere poof, random tearfulness, sometimes crying and I’m so sad when there’s nothing at all to feel sad about— and I know that. I nap more than usual and I’m not a fan of going out of my house either, it’s as if I just want to hide. And I try.
Don’t get me wrong, I still go to my friends for coffee and visit with my best friend too— even though I want to be alone. I do not feel hopeless or helpless. I know I’ll be just fine once spring time-change comes.
As the seasons change and winter draws near, many people experience a shift in their mood and energy levels. This phenomenon, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can cast a shadow over our lives, affecting our mental and emotional well-being.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons of the year. It typically begins in late fall or early winter when daylight hours decrease and lasts until spring when sunlight becomes more abundant. SAD can leave individuals feeling lethargic, moody, depressed, and emotionally drained. For some it can be severe, others— like me, mild or slightly moderate.
Around 5% of the population experiences it in any given year, or around 10 million Americans. And It’s four times more common in women than in men.
Self-Care Tips to Get Through
1. Embrace Natural Light: Make an effort to spend time outdoors during daylight hours or sit near windows to soak in natural light. I take my dog out to potty many times during the day, so I am still getting some natural light.
2. Stay Active: Engage in regular exercise if you can as it releases endorphins that boost mood. This can be something as simple as walking to your mailbox.
3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Prioritize meals, get enough sleep, if you take medications— take them, vitamin D can help too.
4. Connecting with others: Spending time with friends and loved ones can help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve your mood. Even if you just want to hide out and be alone.
5. Practice Mindfulness Techniques: Explore relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation to reduce stress levels. I’ve been using Psalm 23 for comfort and visualizing those soothing words as I go along. See how to meditate and break down Scripture HERE.
Looking to Jesus for Guidance
In times of darkness caused by SAD, turning towards Jesus can provide solace and strength. We have the assurance that God is always present with us even in our darkest moments. By seeking His guidance through prayer and studying His Word, we can find comfort knowing that He understands our struggles intimately.
Journaling Questions for Reflection
- How has SAD affected your spiritual journey?
- In what ways can you lean on Jesus during this season?
- What scriptures or verses bring you hope and encouragement?
- How can you incorporate prayer and meditation into your daily routine to combat SAD?
- What are some of the things that trigger my SAD symptoms?
- What are some of the things that help to improve my mood?
- What are some ways I can connect with God and other believers during this time?
- What are some ways I can serve others?
- I invite you to reflect on the opening verse of this message. Visualize and find comfort in its reflection.
All In All
SAD is a real and treatable condition. It may cast a temporary shadow, but it doesn’t define our lives.
You are not alone— maybe you’re thinking you too? I thought it was just me. There are many people who understand what you are going through. With God’s help, you can get through this.
God loves us and He wants to help us through this. Spend time in prayer and reading the Scripture, Journaling can also be a helpful way to process your emotions and cope with SAD.
By implementing self-care strategies, leaning on Jesus, and seeking support from those around us, we can find light in the darkness. Remember that God’s love is unwavering, and He walks with us through every season of life.
let us embrace the challenges of SAD with resilience and faith, knowing that even in the midst of winter’s gloominess, God’s light shines brightly within us.
NOTE: If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of SAD that you can’t control through self-care and mindfulness, feel helpless or hopeless, or like you want to hurt yourself please reach out to your doctor, a mental health professional or your Pastor for help. There are a number of things you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Johns Hopkins Medical
Seasonal Affictive Disorder: Mayo Clinic
Seasonal Affictive Disorder: American Psychiatric Association
Linking Up This Month With These AMAZING Blog Hop/Link-Up Party Hostesses!
Senior Salon Pit Stop Inspire Me Monday @ Anita’s Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy Friendship Friday Remember Me Monday #TellHisStory InstaEncouragements Let’s Have Coffee #AnythingGoesLinky Imparting Grace Grace & Truth You’re The Star Encouraging Hearts & Home Hearth & Soul Sweet Tea & Friends Grammy’s Grid #PoCoLo Happiness Is Homemade Tell It To Me Tuesday Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop Crazy Little Love Birds Will Blog For Comments The Happy Now Blog Link-Up Dare To Share Saturday’s Ge.ner.ic @ G’Ma’s Photos