Let’s Talk About Seasonal Depression

Around this time (late autumn), many of us feel a shift in our bodies with the time change. We begin to experience a ray of emotions like sadness, anxiety, depression, bursts of anger, and grief. Experiencing these emotions is not coincidental – most likely, it is Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). With the feelings mentioned above, we may also notice a lack of energy, loss of interest in activities that would usually help us out of our funk, fatigue, being withdrawn, and feeling worthless or hopeless. 

S.A.D. is a vital thing to speak on continuously. I can’t begin to tell you how many clients have come to me thinking something is wrong with them and not understanding what’s happening. I have also been confused, and it takes me days to know what I am feeling. 

The seasonal change usually triggers S.A.D, but we mainly notice this in late autumn and winter. In these months, we see the length of daylight shift. Why is sunlight so vital? Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because it is produced by the sun. When we are vitamin D deficient, we notice a drop in serotonin which creates hopelessness and sadness – sounds familiar, right? With vitamin D deficiency, we also feel bone pain, hair loss, poor sleep patterns, muscle weakness, and loss of appetite. 

Remembering to change with the seasons is important, but sometimes our bodies need help adjusting. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.), autumn is tied to the lungs, and grief and sadness are the emotions linked to the lungs. Autumn is a time to tonify the lungs, but remember we are in late autumn going into winter, which is kidney season. The kidneys carry sadness and fear. What helps the kidneys? Warmth, especially from the rays of the sun. T.C.M. also recommends stimulating our Qi (energy) to keep away from stagnation which also leads to fatigue, depression, sadness, etc. Here are some tips to tonify, stimulate, and warm your body:

  • Exercise – it doesn’t have to be strenuous. 
  • Soak in the sun – I know it is the colder months, but there are still so many activities we can partake in to soak in that afternoon sun. Skiing, going for walks, or hiking.
  • Check your diet – around this time, we want to consume warm broths, fish, mushrooms, and other fatty fish. You also want to eat foods high in Vitamin D, like beef liver (also in capsule form), Kale, Parsley, and Spinach. 
  • Acupuncture can help tonify qi and organs in the body, which will help you transition into these dark seasons. Try Turtle Tree Acupuncture.
  • Journaling
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Talk Therapy and E.M.D.R.D.R.
  • Meditation

In shamanic healing and other spiritual practices, when dealing with seasonal depression, we encourage people to turn inward as well. What is your current situation in life? Is it stressful? How is your self-talk? Is it harmful? Autumn is the season of letting go; what within or around you are you having a hard time letting go of? We are entering dark seasons, which coincides with a phase in healing – we have to reveal the shadows of ourselves to heal. We mainly feel the pull of this energy during autumn. It makes sense this is the season of letting go, right? When we are within our bodies, we are more intuned with the changes, and when we are intuned with the changes, we can prepare ourselves for the shifts happening around us (seasons). 

Finding the combination of things that works well for you is essential. Many things exist to help us heal, and many work exceptionally well together. Rarely do I find that one thing solved or helped everything for someone. As the saying goes, it takes a village.

Erica Ware – Owner of Holistic Bodywork

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