It’s mid August and here in the UK there has been a definite turn in the seasons. We’ve had some glorious weather for the last few weeks and it has been great, considering what an awful time we had in May and June.
I have already noticed, though, my fellow SADers commenting on how they are feeling the change and it is bringing up thoughts on the impending winter months. This means we are at a point in the year when we have to be super on our case mentally. It is so easy at this time to drop into fear, negativity, anxiety, and depression simply by thinking about winter, and that isn’t going to help you one tiny bit. If we don’t stay focused on this moment we risk losing sight of the beautiful August day we are having by living as it if is December.
So what can we do? It’s natural to fear what we are pretty sure is coming, but do we want to ruin these weeks of summer?
Remember what the date is.
Today is August 17th. I have a beautiful memory of a glorious sunny day llama trekking on my birthday, at the end of October! It is very possible for us to continue to have fantastic weather for another 10 weeks.Think about how long 10 weeks feel if you are waiting for something amazing like your summer holiday. It might as well be years away. Our perception of time changes with our attitude, but the length of time is still the same. Yes, the days are getting shorter, but that doesn’t mean we are in winter yet. Stay in the moment, forget about winter for now and just have fun in the sun.
Make sure you are prepared.
We know winter will come so we can’t just ignore it till we hit rock bottom, so take a few steps so you are well prepared for when the time comes.
*Do you need new bulbs for your light?
Rather than waiting till you need your light get it out and make sure it’s working ok or if the bulbs need replacing.
Do you need to buy a lamp if you don’t already have one?
So many people find light therapy effective. This means it really is worth a try to see if it can help you too. I know the lights are expensive but for many they would pay it 3 times over knowing how much of a difference it makes.
Are you taking your vitamins?
When we are feeling well during the summer it is really easy to forget to take your vitamins. What we forget is that apart from Vitamin D3 none of them are affected by the seasons. This means that we need to keep taking them all year round.
With D3, if you either use sun block or spend a lot of time indoors during the day you may find that you aren’t getting enough naturally and supplementing needs to be a year round thing. If in doubt get your levels tested by your GP and amend your dose accordingly.
Knowing our vits help is one thing, but going into winter deficient is not going to help.
Make a diary date to start your light therapy.
Look back to previous years and take note of when you started to feel bad. Make a note a few weeks before that to start using your light so that you catch yourself before you fall. It gets you into the habit too.
Did you fall off the CBT wagon?
Many people find CBT and other psychological tools helpful to get them through the winter. It is said that CBT can be as effective as light therapy. If you’ve been feeling fine over the summer you may have forgotten to do the work. Before you start to sink get your books out and refresh your skills.
Start researching new tools before you need them.
There are always new discoveries and more information out there on things you can add to your toolbox. For me I am going to be looking into whether the treatment for TMS can be used for the depression and anxiety of SAD. I also want to look again into investing in an ozone generator for my office at work. I find a new tool gives me more hope for a better winter than the year before.
In being prepared you can forget about what is coming and live in the moment. In taking your power back you can go into the darker months with more confidence that you are doing the very best you can.
Don’t stick your head in the sand, but also don’t let fears of tomorrow ruin today… it’s stunning out there… go enjoy it!
If your light is a few years old the bulbs might not be at their best. You can think you are doing everything right when your light is totally letting you down.