Guest post written by Michael Scanlon
Every year it happens. The temperature cools, and the daylight gives way faster and faster into the darkness of night. As someone who loves fall and everything that comes with it, the flip side of the coin is dealing with my seasonal depression.
Like clockwork, my body and mind respond each year to the rhythms and changes. I normally feel great most of the time, but the gray skies, bare trees, and long nights all seem to do a number on me. I never really noticed this pattern until a few years ago.
I do remember one incident years ago while still struggling taking classes and working. It was a November evening, and I was there at my college early. I remember sitting down in a corner lounge and feeling entirely hopeless. I just wanted to give up, and was caught between tears escaping into a flood, or sinking into a pit of numbness. I also remember the days spent in front of my work computer, struggling to remember or recall what to do. The amount of effort it took to complete tasks at least doubled for me.
This year, I vowed to prepare and take care of myself. I have been trying a few things that I wanted to talk about with you all. I do now take part of my lunch break to go on a walk outside. As someone who jokes they are an “indoor” person, I am here to say my daily walks are a core part of my wellness plan. Every weekday I take a walk and I know it helps keep me well. The mild exercise and sunshine are definitely missed if I skip a day, and I look forward to it.
I also wanted to mention a sun lamp, a super bright lamp that helps mimic the sunlight. I enjoy having my morning coffee nearby the lamp, and I find this super helpful as part of my routine. I also wanted to mention supplements. This is not medical advice, so please talk to your doctor first, but a multivitamin, especially vitamin D, and fish oil (they have vegan omega products for anyone who chooses to not use animal products, like my partner chooses) has done wonders for me.
I’ve also changed the way I see the seasons. I allow myself to calm down my schedule and activities. Instead of cramming my schedule full in fall and winter evenings, I give myself permission to do things that care for me. Anything from reading, tv, games, cooking, or just hanging out. I still do the best that I can for whatever is required, like work, but I no longer have that internal pressure on myself.
I’ve done really well with my seasonal depression this year, and although it hasn’t been perfect, I am excited for the holidays and know that I can handle and meet with any emotions or needs that come up for myself.
Wishing you all an awesome holiday season – Michael