By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
As exhilarating as moving to Austin is, at some point the moving high disappears and you come back to earth with a great big thud. And when re-entry is throughout the winter time, it can result in seasonal depression--also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Particularly if your move has brought you a place where winter is actually a thing--like if you've gone from Arizona to Minnesota-you need to be prepared for some seasonal anxious feelings and learn how to keep it in check until the springtime thaw.
In case you remember anything about high school geography, the farther north you travel, the less sunlight you will find throughout the winter and fall times. The short days usually go hand in hand with dark gray days, so that it feels like the sun never shines for several weeks at a stretch. Then just about all you want to do is hibernate--stay at home, sleep, binge watch movies online, and merely stay away from the human race. When you have just moved across the country and are in a new place, and you haven't essentially settled into a new schedule as yet, you'll find it much easier to succumb to the clutches of seasonal depressive disorder. So, here's how you can address it at home, or some therapies a pro might advise if you're unable to keep it from escalating without any help.
One thing--SAD is actually a thing--the Mayo Clinic addresses it, as well as the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) incorporates it. If you experience the symptoms of major depression that come with winter time, get intervention if you've had the symptoms in the past.
Brighten up Your Surroundings
Phototherapy is the miracle bullet for many people with SAD. It is a uncomplicated treatment which researchers think changes your brain balance with half hour per day of exposure; You won't notice any substantial side effects and it is a home therapy, so it is worth an attempt. You'll need a light box which emits no less than 10,000 lux (lux factors in the concentration of the lighting). Sit down by the box--around 16 to 24 inches away--while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, not looking exactly at the light source but with your eyes open. Be sure the box is made specifically for SAD therapy, as it will filter Ultraviolet light.
Easy things--higher-watt light bulbs, opening shades every day, and sitting by a window at work, if possible--that expose you to extra light will have a detectable benefit. Trim back all tree branches that hang across your residence to let in more sunshine, and explore incorporating skylights to allow all the light you can into the house.
Take a walk, eat your lunch outside--anything to take in a handful of weak winter rays. Even a minimal boost of Vitamin D is wonderful for you and heading outside for a short walk handles that in addition to getting your pulse up. Early morning sun--even on overcast days--packs a bigger wallop compared to weak mid-day sunshine, so try to go outdoors to get going with your day.
Workout and Make Friends
Working out is the standard process for helping any variety of depression--it gets the endorphins running, which in turn eases the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety. If perhaps your new residence is located in an area where wintertime sports are common, find a new activity--snow boarding, ice skating, perhaps ice fishing. Strive to get out and socialize, even if it's just having lunch or having coffee with colleagues.
In the event your SAD persists after you've attempted to deal with it on your own, you should get a physician's guidance. A psychologist or psychiatrist will do an in depth evaluation of your physical and mental health and evaluate if your signs and symptoms are actually seasonal or perhaps the start of a more chronic depressive disorder. Among the first questions they will likely ask is if any additional family members are subject to SAD--it is thought to be hereditary. Treatment options could be talk therapy, relaxation or meditation, or even a short-term prescription for antidepressants.
Do not forget that as the winter season gives way to springtime, so will your SAD ease away as the days get longer as well as much more enjoyable. Meanwhile, please get intervention for your SAD to help you take advantage of your life in your new residence after moving to Austin.
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