Jan 3, 2011

Art from the Heart SAD

Today was a very grey day, a typical winter day, for me it is especially a hard day, just one more winter day for me to get through, you see I have SAD. I think I have had it all of my adult life.

If you have never heard of SAD, let me tell you about it. It is an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. In the winter months when the days are shorter people with SAD experience symptoms of sleep problems, changes in appetite, diet and weight and depression. The worst time for me is January when the Holidays are over. You know the time when people make resolutions that they will never keep! When things are just sort of boring spring looks far off……….

However, this year is different, I have been enjoying some great success lately with some things I have done and want to share what I have found to work for me.

For centuries people have known that our moods are affected by the weather and that depression is more common in winter. In 1980 there was a lot of interest in this phenomenon and the illness received more official recognition. At this time it was also found that it could be treated with light therapy.

Seeing that I could not avoid winter I purchased a light and I have been using it for about 2 years and I think it is helpful however, I have found some other things that have really been a life saver and I am happy that I can share them with you .

The major thing in my life during the winter that helps is having a creative outlet. I paint. If you don’t paint there are all sorts of creative things you can do, sew, write, draw, work on a scrapbook or a blog or even learn how to cook. The internet offers a abundance of creative ideas. All of these activities help you to diminish your negative thoughts by diverting your attention to a productive endeavor that requires imagination and positive involvement.

It is really common for someone who has SAD to dwell on their mistakes and shortcomings, so by getting you mind involved with a creative activity, it releases the stress and the thoughts just go away. Funny thing about the creative mind, when you get so engrossed in something that is creative, your body relaxes and your mind sort of goes into another place. I find that the worries I have seem to be gone and in their place is pleasant things from the past, I think about my family and trips we took and things that were fun we did. We all want and crave meaning in our lives and accomplishments. The more we accomplish the better we feel about ourselves. Here is the problem, sometimes we are not in the mood to do something positive and it would be easier to sit and feel sorry for ourselves. If we just take baby steps and go slow, setting some goals with a realistic timetable to accomplish them we will be able to do it!

We can be proud of ourselves as we see the goals come to fruition. We can celebrate each and every step no matter how small. The trick is to keep it up.

Another thing I have found to help is to laugh, find things that are funny. Watch movies that are funny. Laugh at myself too, boy I am a negative person sometimes and it is good to be able to laugh at myself. Too often I take things way too seriously, so I have lightened up a bit and it really helps!

Gratitude…now this is a biggie! Sometimes when I am painting I start to mentally list the things I am grateful for, it shocks me at how much I have taken for granted and not been grateful for. I look for the smallest things and by doing this I feel closer to God and take time to thank Him for all I have.
Sharon Teal-Coray

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