It's that time of year again.
As the year ends, the gray days will outnumber the sunny ones, and Seasonal Affective Disorder attempts to take hold once again. But thankfully, there are simple yet effective preventative methods that you can take to ease into the season stress free. In this article - number 2 in a series - you will learn more about controlling your environment's sounds and scents.
Preparing for Seasonal Affective Disorder - Understanding SAD
Fact: A common misconception about SAD is that due to increased fatigue, SAD sufferers are at least getting more rest. Although fatigue indeed is a common symptom of SAD, actual restful sleep is not. Many will feel lethargic and may attempt to sleep for hours, but that's all it is most of the time - an attempt. Remember, poor sleep is a symptom of SAD and is not a personal defect or character flaw.
Symptoms: As a result of the lower levels of daylight, you may experience all or some of the following:
- poor restorative sleep
- increased feelings of anxiety
- weight gain (linked to increase in carbohydrate cravings)
- feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt
Preparing for Seasonal Affective Disorder - Your Environment's Scents and Sounds
Sounds: Uplifting music, cheerful banter, classic prose being eloquently read aloud - these are just some of the sounds that can go a long way toward lifting the spirits. During the day, attempt to listen to something that encourages or inspires you. Although melancholy music has its place, now may not be a good time to listen to it often. Instead, try nature sounds as you sleep, soothing classical music as background noise, or cheerful world music as you relax.
Scents: We all tend to wrinkle our noses when we smell something offensive. Who doesn't hold their breath when passing an overflowing trash can? Filling your environment with pleasing scents is just as important as what you see and hear. Lavender aids feelings of relaxation, citrus contributes to joy, and familiar food scents can be comforting.
Play with different smells until you find a few that appeal to you. And don't feel like purchasing expensive candles is necessary. Instead try DIY potpourri, essential oils, or even freshly grated herbs or fruits.
The next article in this series will cover the how making a few dietary adjustments can help you through SAD.
*NOTE - Although there is more than one type of SAD, in this article, I'm referring to the type also known as Winter Depression.