The winter blues. When the season cools and the daylight lessens, sometimes we find that we don’t have our usual energy, agitated and depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is set off by seasons. It typically appears in the fall and winter and goes away in the spring or summer. Diagnosis may take up to 2 years to see a pattern. So how can you remedy or at least get through the seasons?
Therapies for Seasonal Affective Disorder
There are some therapies that have been effective in treating SAD. I will mention just a few here.
This therapy has been used for a few decades. It involves sitting in front of a light box, which filter out the ultraviolet rays and require 20-60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light. This level of energy emulates a bright sunny day. Who doesn’t feel good on a sunny day. Treatment is once a day for 20-60 minutes in the morning until spring comes around. Price can start at $25 to $600. This is a great therapy that is easily accessible.
Finding a professional therapist to talk through the season to help you build an actionable plan to help cope with the season. Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy has been adapted for use with SAD (CBT-SAD). CBT-SAD relies on basic techniques of CBT such as identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts along with a technique called behavioral activation. You can find what activities best engage you and give you pleasure. Working with a therapist proficient in understanding SAD you may find that you need medication and they can help you find the best option for you such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), bupropion, another type of antidepressant, for treating SAD.
There are mixed reviews on vitamin D being useful for treating SAD. I for one find it effective, but perhaps in combination with these therapies above you can get good results. It never hurts to up your vitamin D whether in supplement form or upping you intake in vitamin D rich foods, and or getting plenty of outdoor time (yes even in winter) for some sunshine and exercise.
I think you knew this was coming. Massage has a rich evidence in helping alleviate depressive symptoms. How it works? It decreases the cortisol in the body that cause stress. It increases a person’s ability to get some good sleep which further reduces stress and anxiety. It has been shown in studies to be effective in alleviating Seasonal Affective disorder.
Find Your Joy Again
So now you have a battle plan. Eat well, exercise, have a person to talk to, get sunshine real or the electrical kind, take the medicine if you need it, and get regular massages through out the season. Do the things that bring you joy. Experiment in what activities you find refresh and de stress you and keep on doing it.
With the hot months upon us, it’s good to go over some tips to stay cool and safe while pregnant. It’s no joke to be heavily pregnant in the summer. While you have the awesome benefits of a having great array of fresh veg and fruits in the summer, the heat can be so oppressive it can distract from the pros of having a summer baby. So what’s a hot pregnant person to do!?
Stay covered: Despite the urge to strip it all off in the middle of the playground, keeping covered will protect you from the rays of the sun. Keep the clothing light in color and stick to natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn! Wear a hat for added protection. Straw or cotton is great, so again, keep it natural in material and light in color. Dark colors attract the heat. If you are at the beach or pool, have an umbrella to stay under so you are not constantly in the sun.
Schedule outside time right: The peak hours for the sun is 11 am to 3 pm. So try to get your fun or errands done early in the day or wait for the sun to be setting to enjoy the outdoors. Save the midday activities for the air-conditioned places.
Hit the pool: Swimming is great for cooling you off. We are also blessed in Buffalo to have splash pads in most parts of the city. They were opened today so check out if there is one close by.
Guzzle the water: It’s important to stay hydrated when pregnant to begin with, so when you add heat to the mix you’ve got to really keep track. Always have a bottle with you. If you are not a natural water drinker, try adding fruits, veggies, and herbs. Strawberry and lemon perhaps or watermelon mint and cucumber. So many options that you could play with. You could even add a few drops of red raspberry tincture.
Block the sun: Get a good sunblock. The higher the SPF the better. If you go swimming you should reapply. Most last a few hours. If you have a favorite please comment below. I’m in the market for a new one.
Adventurer look: Wet a bandana with cool water and wrap it around your neck to keep cool.
So if we have a hot summer, there is no need to hide indoors. You can have fun and stay safe while pregnant. Have more tips please share with the class. You can come in and get a massage with cold stones as well. Very chill experience. Enjoy your summer and stay safe!
Try out this cool dream of an add-on for the hot months ahead. If this week is anything to go by, we are in for some hot days. Enjoy this fresh aloe vera and cucumber mask for the back to help you have a cool experience. Cold marble massage stones deepen the cooling experience. Perfect to soothe a sun-kissed back. If you are experiencing hot-flashes from menopause this is a nice break. Enjoy a green tea and fruit infused water to take with you on the go. Schedule your 60/90/120 minute massage session and add-on this treatment to give yourself a cool treat!
As a massage therapist, I know that massage absolutely works. Massage therapy has been well-established through studies. It has been found to help with sleep, reduce inflammation, decrease pain, speed recovery from muscular injuries, reduce injury and depression, relieve side effects of cancer treatments, help with fertility issues, help premature babies gain weight faster, etc., etc., etc. So what would help you to kick it up a notch. Simply put, movement!!
I know massage gives my clients results, but I also know that their results would be last longer with adding some type of movement in their life as much as possible. Whatever your choice of movement, make it a regular ocurrance a minimum of three times a week to daily at 30-60 minutes a session. Movement and massage make a dynamic duo in your health strategy. You can change it up or focus on a particulary practice. Personally, I love hiking, Pilates, Essentrics, and Aeriel silks. I think it definitely helps to choose something that excites you and you really look forward to doing. Yoga, running, swimming, walking, rowing, skiing, dancing, whatever! Just move it. You really can keep the variety, but just make it a definite part of your self-care routine.
When you keep your body moving, it helps me as your massage therapist to work on warmed up muscles that are being cared for. Whatever work I do on the table will last that much longer. You might consider doing your exercise of choice and then have your massage. The results will not disappoint. So whether your goal is to improve flexibility, increase positive body image, lose weight, gain muscles, get faster or stronger, move it! Move it regulary! Show your body some love! Move it and get a massage!