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After Trick or Treating, It’s the Trick of Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

03 Nov

Well, it's that time of year again, when people start feeling blue, depressed, sapped of energy and filled with "what's the point of it all" ennui.

Therapists notice it right away, because the phone starts ringing off the hook – new clients looking for help, and people who terminated their therapy years ago, coming back for a tune-up.

And yes, it's connected with the difficult issues in their lives, but chances are, these issues were operating over the summer too, but just didn't hit them as hard as when the sun started getting stingier with its light.

2110bWe see it here at Health Journeys every fall, too – way more orders for resources addressing depression, anxiety, traumatic stress and grief. It's been that way for the two dozen years we've been around.

So, just a reminder of a few simple but important tips to help with depression:

  • Make yourself get up in the morning. Sleeping late is not a good idea for depression. Haul yourself out of bed!
  • Reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine and booze. You may get a short term boost, but you'll pay through the nose an hour or two later.
  • Move! Exercise helps! You won't feel like it if you're depressed, but make it an act of will to get on that treadmill.
  • Try those special seasonal depression lights, a half-hour a day in the morning, during sun-deprived seasons.
  • Ask for support from those who can give it and avoid those who can't.
  • Talk nicely to yourself and interrupt negative self-talk. Self-criticism is a signature feature of depression and the cognitive distortion that messes with your outlook.
  • Keep a schedule, stay active, even if you don't feel like it. (You won't.)
  • Try some holistic tools, starting with guided imagery, but also consider meditation, breathwork, yoga, massage, Reiki, Qigong, acupressure – anything that appeals to you.
  • Don't be a snob about medication. There are some excellent, non-addictive, new drugs that can jump-start your recovery, so don't be rigid about this.
  • Counseling with a good therapist can be a big help and will also take the load off your loved ones, friends and colleagues.

2201bRemember, this too shall pass... even though you may think otherwise – but that, too, is just the cognitive distortion talking.

Some of our most popular and effective resources for lifting your mood and getting back your energy are our Combat Depression and Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal guided imagery. Amy Weintraub's Breathe to Beat the Blues and her Life Force Yoga to Beat the Blues; and Traci Stein's Self-Esteem and Self-Esteem during Sleep. If you're feeling particularly stuck, you may want to try our Healing Trauma imagery. And any of the moving meditation titles that you see under yoga, tai chi or qigong will help greatly as well.

All best,

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.