The days are getting shorter, the temperature is cool
No more basking in the sun, or floating in the pool
My heart is feeling heavy, but I know a special art
A list of happy thoughts, to keep springtime in my heart
As my wonderful friends in the northern hemisphere celebrate the beauties of spring, we here in the Land of Oz are enjoying the treasures that autumn has to bring. Well, some of us are. And winter is just two days away.
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but sometimes feel certain I suffer from it as my mood plummets along with the temperature.
Is this you too? Do you know someone who gets sad when it’s cold? Read on, I will share the secrets to keeping your heart full of spring.
Even if you are enjoying the wonders of spring right now, these tips can help you when the seasons change.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in the seasons.
It can actually lead to suicidal thoughts if it is allowed to get out of hand, so be sure to get professional help if the depression associated with this disorder persists.
SAD most often affects people during the cooler months of autumn and winter but can, in some rare cases, be triggered by spring and summer.
In the case of the cooler seasons, it is thought the lack of light could be a trigger and light therapy is often used to ease the symptoms.
Reduced levels if sunlight can result in a drop of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for our happiness. It also affects levels of melatonin, which guide sleep patterns and moods.
Typical symptoms include low energy, depression, losing interest in things that normally excite you, weight and sleep changes, feeling agitated, difficulties in concentrating, hypersensitivity to rejection.
Sometimes the symptoms are treated with psychotherapy and medication and it is vital to seek professional help if these symptoms persist.
However, if you are just dealing with sadness because your favourite season has gone and you dread the discomfort of winter, there are some things you can do to lift your mood.
HOW TO KEEP A HEART FULL OF SPRING
- The most important thing is to ensure you get as much light as possible, so brave the cold air and spend time outdoors each day.
- If you take a long walk, it won’t feel so cold and you’ll be ticking off the other really important depression buster – exercise. So much research shows that exercising just 35 minutes four or five times a week can have an enormous impact on your emotional well-being.
- Diet is also really important and the temptation to grab sugar-laden foods to gain that instant energy lift is almost overwhelming. The problem is, the little energy spike doesn’t last very long and once it’s over you can end up feeling worse. Go for healthy options instead.
- Research has shown the benefits on the emotional health of Omega 3, so consider incorporating more into your diet.
- The light (or lack of) can be a serious issue so ensure you turn on lights, open curtains, light candles – anything you can think of to add light to your home.
- Light therapy consists of spending 30 minutes a day sitting in front of a fluorescent light box so consider adding this to your daily routine.
- Wear bright colours. We often tend to replace summer and spring time florals with black and brown in winter, adding to the dismal feel of the season.
- Plan a special winter only project. I do this every year. I plan to make a scarf or blanket by knitting and crocheting. I have yet to finish even one scarf.
- Plant some bulbs. They are a great investment in your springtime garden. Read my post, Daffodils – Planting Happiness for tips on planting bulbs.
- Put some lovely colourful blankets around, add extra cushions – cosy up your home.
- Treat yourself to flowers from the florist if your garden isn’t producing much colour.
- During spring, take pictures of your beautiful flowers, turn them into a photograph collage as a happy memory trigger when you are feeling down.
- Think happy thoughts – the lovely things of winter such as hot soup, hot chocolate, a roaring fire, extra cuddling (so much nicer when you’re not sweaty), the unlikelihood of bushfires, snakes in hibernation.
- Laugh – it burns calories, enhances immunity, improves sleep and memory and reduces stress. Your brain can detect a fake laugh, so it has to be real but laughter is totally contagious so go to SoundBible.com and listen to the funny laughs and before you know it, you’ll be joining in.
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Wishing you a heart full of spring and a gleeful week, Tamuria.