So the Holiday Season is upon us once again. Many of us are so excited and ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, & the New Year with our families. However, there are many who dread this time of year because of painful losses, current struggles or illnesses, and old memories of the past. While many are singing carols, dancing, and feasting, many are dealing with a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as “SAD.”
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression in which people lose hope, feel lonely and discouraged, and find it very difficult to survive during the Fall and Winter Seasons. Let’s face it. These seasons have the potential to be depressing and challenging for everyone. The days are filled with more darkness and less sunshine. The temperatures are colder which forces many to stay at home (increasing the risk for overeating and over sleeping). There is an increased risk for conditions such as the Flu from coughing, sneezing, & lack of proper handwashing spreading more germs in the air & on surfaces (countertops, etc) based on increased personal contact with family and friends. Many are stressed due to financial burdens and/or guilt of not being able to afford gifts for the family. Many are angry at God because of a lost loved one, lost job, loss of a limb/body part, loss of freedom or independence, or loss of “the way things used to be.”
Exodus 15:26b tells us for I am the Lord who heals. No matter how difficult life may become, we must remember that our Lord and Savior is omnipresent and always with us. Never allow life’s circumstance to overpower the spirit of God within. He hears you. He sees you. He loves you inspite of you. In the midst of our trials, He is protecting, healing, & keeping us as He weaves “His” divine purpose represented by the appointed blessings and lessons of our lives. It is not for us to understand yet to trust the heart of God when we cannot trace His presence. He will never leave nor forsake us. We must be reminded to walk by faith, see with our spiritual eyes (see beyond the circumstance), choose to surrender our All to Him, and repent (ask forgiveness) of our daily sins. Most importantly, this foundation of healing & renewal must begin with the “Balm of Gilead” also known as the word of God. Psalm 119:105 tells us Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Eph. 6:17 tells us Take the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And John 1:1 tells us In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. There is a promise of light at the end of the tunnel. God gives us resilience also known as “bounce back power” when we put our trust in Him & live by His word. His word (very similar to Chapstick lip balm) is like a covering of us. Thus, we must consistently study His word to prevent drying & chaffing of our spirit, soul, & mind.
Life is filled with painful days for everyone. We’ve all heard the saying “In every life a little rain must fall.” God wants us to give ourselves time to cry and grieve over our losses (get it out of our system), forgive ourselves and others for any mistakes, and then move forward (past the pain) in the path & purpose where He leads. If you are hurting or feeling sad in this season, seek God and His word. Then be still and allow God to heal and cover you. And remember, the best is yet to come.
Here are a few more tips on dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder:
1. Light Therapy (Go outside and get a little sunshine)
2. Seek Professional Help (Counseling, Therapy, prescribed medicines, or natural healing remedies. *Always consult your physician for recommended plan of care or questions in advance of starting any treatment)
3. Volunteer, Give, or Help Others.
4. Write and keep a journal of your thoughts
5. Maintain Activity (get involved with the church or community)
6. Maintain positive relationships. Avoid negativity as much as possible.
Tracy Mitchell RN,BSN,CCM