Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seeing the Light: Writers and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Part Four

Many people are adversely affected each year by the winter blues and writers are no exception. There are many ways to combat SAD, including antidepressants and other medications, but bright artificial light treatments are common as a means to give the body more exposure to the light that is lacking once winter approaches. For SAD sufferers, shorter days and long nights can initiate depression, excessive fatigue and other issues. Not simply the ‘winter blues’, Seasonal Affective Disorder is recognized as a form of depression, which can have serious consequences. 
However, you don’t have to mourn the passing of summer by looking ahead with a sense of impending doom and there are many ways to cope with feelings of lethargy and mood shifts in fall and winter. Make your home or writing workplace brighter by opening blinds, perhaps even adding extra windows and trim tree branches or bushes close to the house that block sunlight. If a trip to warmer latitudes isn’t in your budget, get outside as much as you can, taking advantage of sunshine even on cold winter days. Take more long walks and if its not too cold, simply sit peacefully on a bench in a park and soak up the sun. 
Regular physical exercise can also help with stress relief and prevent the onset of SAD. Feeling more fit makes you feel better about yourself overall and generally improves your mood. Giving in to those winter blues can also be stressful and lead to overeating, overindulgence in alcohol or other unhealthy pursuits, so you need to take care of your body, watch your diet and get enough sleep. Make time to relax and get away from your writing once in a while, especially if you work at home. 
And even if you do suffer from cabin fever, make sure you invite people into that cabin for a tea or coffee on occasion during the winter or at least go to visit their cabin instead. Writing is a solitary and often lonely profession and staying connected with your friends and acquaintances, and not just online, is vital if you are to get through the winter. SAD may be a fact of life for many people out there, but it doesn’t have to be a sad part of your life during the darker winter months, so keep writing and get that book finished. After all, there may be someone in a sunnier place beating you to it.

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