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Things Only People With Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Understand

Things Only People With Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Understand

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common disorder that affects approximately one in every 30 Americans, which adds up to the entire population of Michigan. Rosie O’ Donnell is known for famously voicing her struggles with SAD. This seasonal depression is often caused by a lack of sunlight and can be worse during the winter months when the days are shorter.

There can be a lot of stigma around SAD due to lack of understanding and just writing it off simply as “winter blues,” but it is crucial to go see a professional if you suspect you might be suffering. Here are some other things associated with SAD that are simply not true.

SAD is interchangeable with the “winter blues”

During the winter, it can be quite common for individuals to feel a change in their mood and loss of energy due to the sun setting earlier and the temperature getting colder. SAD does not fall into the same category. It should be thought of as a very real illness that requires medical attention.

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A person suffering from SAD often cannot recover from feeling down like a person who has the winter blues can by simply changing their scenery or being motivated to do something that they like. It often takes professional counseling, medication, and phototherapy (exposing patients to light to increase melatonin and serotonin levels).

SAD only can happen during the wintertime

It is most common to hear about SAD occurring during the winter months, but there is also a less common type of SAD that happens during the spring and summer months. The triggers for this type of SAD are attributed to warmer weather, humidity, and a change in schedules (especially if you have kids).

Individuals who experience this version of SAD often go through the same symptoms of anxiety and depression as those who suffer in the wintertime, but can instead have an increase in appetite and sexual arousal.

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SAD sufferers also have general depression

Those individuals who are affected by SAD are not depressed year-round — in fact, they cannot be diagnosed with SAD if this is the case.

Once someone with SAD goes through a depressive cycle, they are able to bounce back to their old selves again. In order to be properly diagnosed, you have to be able to recover from these depressive bouts and have them around the same time for two consecutive years.

SAD sufferers are only adults

Like general depression, children can be affected with SAD as well as adults can. The symptoms can be similar to those of adults, where children act withdrawn, have unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, excessive sleeping, and trouble paying attention.

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It is important to recognize these signs and not mistake SAD for general moodiness in a child. The most important thing for a parent to do for a child who is suffering from this disorder is to be supportive and patient. Offering a helping hand with homework, cooking them healthy meals, or setting aside extra quality time to talk is invaluable.

SAD sufferers are only women

It is commonly known that 90 percent of SAD sufferers are women, but individuals from any background, gender, or age can develop SAD. Although men are less at risk, they usually suffer from more severe symptoms.

This disorder can happen to anyone at any age, but studies have shown that younger people are more prone to developing SAD. Individuals who live further from the equator and experience bigger extremes between light and dark hours are more likely to be susceptible. One more contributor to the likeliness of having SAD is genetics, where individuals who have had family members that have suffered are more likely to be afflicted with the disorder as well.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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