Do you hate cold and gray weather? Is it hard for you to break out of the lethargy and fog of winter? Are you feeling helpless, hopeless, guilty, irritated or extremely disconnected? Do you wish for an end to your daily routines?
If you identify with any of these questions, it’s possible that you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It’s a seasonal depression that happens to many adults in the late winter and early spring. While it is cyclical and temporary, it is a real depressive episode that affects millions each year. Family caregivers are particularly susceptible to SAD because they are often limited in leaving their aging relative’s home and taking care of themselves. Fortunately, March is the ideal time to start breaking the chains of SAD and restoring your mental health.
Is SAD Real?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real condition that doctors are learning more about each year. You are most likely to develop it if you live in the northern part of the country and don’t participate in outdoor winter sports or activities. Family caregivers like you are more likely to get it if you are the sole caregiver for your elderly loved one and don’t spend a lot of time on yourself or your needs. Because it is a type of depression, you need a doctor to get through it.
What Causes SAD?
While medical experts are not yet sure what causes SAD, there have been many studies linking it to low serotonin levels, which is a hormone responsible for regulating mood. Limited daylight hours may affect serotonin and thereby affect more sensitive people with SAD. Low levels of vitamin D also may have a lot to do with SAD. Vitamin D is produced in the body when it is exposed to sunlight and so during the winter months, many people rarely go outside long enough to get that. Family caregivers with housebound relatives are even less likely to make it outside.
How is SAD Treated?
If you have SAD, you need to work with a doctor on treatments that work. Self-care and healthy habits are important—healthy food, lots of sleep, exercise and socializing with friends and family. Lowering stress is also a good idea. Many family caregivers find the time to take care of themselves by hiring senior care providers. These professional senior care providers can step in and take care of your aging loved one completely, so you can get out of the house and do things. Whether you take a walk outdoors, indulge in an outdoor hobby like gardening or simply take a break from the demands of caregiving for a few hours, senior care providers can make it possible.
While SAD is a serious mental health issue, you can turn it all around by being good to yourself, working with a doctor and hiring senior care providers for respite. March is the perfect time of year to take the first steps in overcoming SAD because it means longer daylight hours and the renewed energy of spring is almost here.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Howell, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.