Do you feel moody, irritated or hopeless during the winter months?
Does it feel like more than just a typical bad mood? You may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—a mental health condition that requires a doctor to overcome. As a family caregiver, you can often get too focused on the needs of your aging loved one and may not even recognize the symptoms of SAD in yourself, and therefore are less likely to seek treatment for yourself.
The good news is that SAD is quite treatable and there are steps you can take each winter to minimize its impact on your life. By enlisting the help of senior care providers, friends and family, you can focus on yourself and your needs to start making changes. Once you learn about SAD and work with a doctor on a treatment, you’ll be back to a better mental health balance in no time.
Here are 3 things you can do to treat SAD, as long as you work closely with a doctor to keep an eye on your mental health:
1. Increase the Natural Light in Your Life
Many medical researchers link a lack of sunlight exposure to the development of SAD. Decreased daylight hours can throw off the body’s natural rhythms, especially with Daylight Savings time changes added to the mix. The lack of sunlight expose greatly reduces the production of vitamin D in the body, which can also lead to mood-altering depressive states. Family caregivers can focus on increasing their exposure to natural sunlight, even if they have to bundle up and spend a few minutes outside on the porch or taking a brisk walk in the early March days.
Hiring senior care providers to look after aging adults gives family caregivers time for themselves to step out and focus on healing. For those who need more, doctors recommend light therapy, a special lamp with bulbs that deliver the same type of rays as sunlight. The more sunlight exposure, real or simulated, in the lingering days of winter, the better it will be for those with SAD.
2. Stay Busy, Healthy and Active
The best thing that people can do for depression, seasonal or otherwise, is to develop healthy habits to keep the body in the best shape possible. With depression, people tend to ignore healthy habits like nutritious food, restful sleep, and exercise. Without help from others, such as a senior care provider, family caregivers often don’t have the time or the ability to take care of themselves this way. However, these habits can really make a difference in how severely the body is affected by SAD. Other healthy habits that people can adopt, to help withstand SAD include: quitting smoking, avoid heavy drinking, boosting socialization and getting control over other health issues.
3. Medication and Therapy
In extreme cases, family caregivers may prescribe antidepressants for family caregivers who suffer from SAD. Regular therapy visits can also help a lot when it comes to overcoming depression. Family caregivers often find it hard to get out of their aging relative’s home to seek these remedies. Hiring a senior care provider can give family caregivers time to focus on their physical and mental health without jeopardizing their elderly loved ones that depend on them so much.