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How I Manage Motherhood with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Fall is my favorite season! The heat and humidity of Summer passes and is replaced with chilly air, sweaters, boots, and pumpkin spice everything. I dream of the changing leaves, open windows, and going to the pumpkin patch- it is simply the best season ever (especially in Nashville), but there is one major drawback to Fall- my Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

With the shortening days and longer nights, my energy tends to get sapped and my mood can really take a nosedive and that makes being a mom really hard some days and as Fall turns to Winter, I really struggle. If I’m being honest, some days it is hard to get out of bed. 

While everyone has a different journey with SAD, I have found that the following things can really help me manage when I start to feel that gray cloud start looming:

1) Gratitude. I keep a gratitude journal and write down something that I am thankful for each day. This helps me re-center my mind and focus on positive experiences instead of the heaviness that I may be feeling. 

2) Take a walk. Getting more daylight and physical activity has been clinically proven to decrease the effect of SAD. Nashville has really amazing parks with walking trails and greenways; check out https://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Greenways-and-Trails.aspx for a list. 

3) Make your bed. This one sounds kind of silly, but, when you’re in the midst of feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list or just your overall feelings, being able to know that you did something that day will significantly help relieve your sense of underachievement. 

4) Tell someone. Being honest with someone close to you (your spouse, best friend, mother, etc) can really help you sort through your feelings and thoughts. These people can also be a safety net if your that nagging cloud turns from gray to black. 

5) Light therapy. You can purchase a Light Therapy box on Amazon for anywhere from $40 to $300. This is really helpful during those dark Winter Months. 

6) Talk to your doctor. If you feel that your symptoms are worsening or starting to impact your daily life (don’t want to eat, can’t care for your child, unable to work), talk to your doctor. It may be time to seek some further treatment for your symptoms, there are a wide range of antidepressants that can help you start feeling more like yourself. 

Remeber that SAD, just like clinical depression or the common cold is a medical condition. You are still a wonderful mother, wife, friend, sister, and daughter no matter your struggle. 

If at any point, no matter the season, you begin to consider hurting yourself or someone you love, there is no shame in seeking help. There are various resources available to you in a time of crisis:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network: www.tspn.org
Crisis Textline:  Text TN to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line and a trained counselor
If you feel that you are an immediate danger to yourself or someone else, call 911. 

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