Oh… Sweet, sweet summer. Morning hikes and bike rides. Afternoon pool time and shady trees. Cocktails at sunset. But wait. What’s that? Did I just get a whiff of pumpkin spice in the air? My nose suddenly runs, and I think the wind just gave me a chill. Now I wish I had a jacket and a tissue pack in my pocket.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear. Fall is here in the States, and for many of us, it comes with the pull of seasonal anxiety and depression. For many, it starts now and will peak in the Winter around the holidays into what we call the “Winter Blues.” With less daylight and a drop in temperature, we lose our carefree ways. We wake up before the sun rises and come home after it has set. We pray we’re wearing enough layers and might be inspired to take a long nap to manage our lethargy. Hibernating starts to sound really good. Unfortunately, this can lead to one down a road we want to avoid.
Seasonal anxiety disorder, also known as SAD (the irony), doesn’t have a clear cause but experts link it to less sunlight. The sun helps modulate our hormonal levels and the chemicals in our brains linked to depression and anxiety. In addition, it is thought that a portion of the population has a gene that requires sunlight to release positive neurotransmitters in the brain. If true, that means some of us need the sun to feel good.
If you feel like you are on the path to SAD, here are a few things you can do to combat it:
- Light Up Your Life – Look into something called light therapy. You can buy fancy lamps for this, but simply shining a bright light on one’s face for an extended period of time can work wonders. Also, get out into the sun whenever you can. Go out for lunch and walk on the sunny side of the street. Bundle up and take a walk in the park on a Sunday. Soak up all the sun you can get.
- Keep It Moving – Kick up the exercise. Between less sun and more pies and hot chocolates, this seems like a great time to add an additional exercise class to the regime or increase gym time. There may be days when you have to push yourself, but only good things will come from it.
- Hang Out With Your People – You know what I said about hibernating earlier? Scratch that. Being alone with anxiety and depression can make it even worse. Put in the effort to go out and have a good time. Open yourself to the light that you get from those you love.
Seasonal Anxiety Disorder is often not considered serious, but it can become overwhelming for some. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please contact the following:
- The LGBT National Help Center (US) : 1-888-843-4564
- Sage (US) 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
- Additional international resources can be found here.
The Daddyhunt Team