JLLopez1006 is the creator, writer, and designer of the online blog My Life as a Zombie, a blog for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)– those who understand. Likewise, the blog is also for those that are lucky enough not to suffer from S.A.D.– those who do not understand, but seek to. Her blog was started to increase awareness and understanding of S.A.D., as well as to be part of a support system available to those who suffer.
JLLopez1006 is self-employed as a Freelance Writer and Blogger. After being self-diagnosed, she was professionally diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Spring 2008, and counts it as a blessing every time that she survives another northern United States winter.
Today and in a second guest post next week you are getting advise from a “pro”! Thank you so much jllopez1006 for your contribution on this topic!! I am sure it provides you with useful tips on how to deal with the S.A.D. elements in your life or, at the least, understand someone else who does.
Fighting the Good Fight
Seasonal Affective Disorder is one of those things in life that you can simply do without. Until you have it, you don’t get it; and once you have it, you sure wish that you didn’t.
S.A.D. affects you mentally, emotionally, and physically, temporarily numbing who you are as a person, dumbing down your senses, and turning you into a shadow of your former self. That is why I named my new S.A.D. blog “My Life as a Zombie,” because very often, in my opinion, “being affected is more like being infected.”
Seasonal Affective Disorder can disenfranchise you from others during this difficult time of year, can cause your brain to work at a reduced level, and make even normal physical functionality tough to handle. You may find yourself retreating away from others and activity; and likewise, others may feel the need to distance themselves from you, because they think you are a “downer,” that you are negative or pessimistic, or that you just like to be depressed.
This time of year demands that you learn your own personal rules of survival in the fight against Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here are some of mine:
- Step into the light — Though days are short and natural light is minimal, try to take advantage of sunlight when it is available. For me, that means getting out during the day and enjoying the sunlight as I do my errands. I also started working from home to allow myself the freedom to get out during the day rather than be stuck in an office with minimal light.
- Get ample rest — It may seem simple, but it is vital to get enough sleep during this time. You know that you will still feel sleepy throughout the day, but sleepiness is different from sheer exhaustion because you have been succumbing to late nights and early mornings. Make sleep a priority, even if you have to take naps to get it all in.
- Eat, drink, and be merry — Though you do not want to overdo it, make sure to get enough to eat and drink. Hunger or dehydration can cause you to experience fatigue, and considering how prone to feeling tired that you are already, you don’t want to make it any worse.
- Do what cheers you up — As you struggle through the long winter, allow yourself to experience comfort and joy in ways that you can. For me, I like to read, eat out, go online, and watch movies. Despite what others may think or doctors would recommend, I do not choose “feel good” movies or books. Rather, many of them are actually very emotional and possibly depressing. But since I feel less during the winter, it actually helps me to feel again, so for me, it is a positive thing. Since I abhor cold weather and snow, I avoid being outside as much as possible, which, in turn, shelters my psyche. Do what makes you personally feel more alive.
- Be social on your own terms — For those suffering with S.A.D., it can be hard to keep up with the social requirements that may be expected of you. Rather than cut yourself off from the world for a few months, learn to relate to others in ways that you are comfortable with. I find social networking to be even more vital during the winter, as it is a great way to stay involved with others in spite of my own personal funk. Same goes with email—since I like to write anyways, I am more likely to converse with people if I do not have to speak to them in person or on the phone. This is also helpful because I can do it when I want and when I have time—if I get overwhelmed, it is easy to leave it for later.
Look for the second installment here next week! In the mean time don’t forget to visit My Life as a Zombie and leave some comment-luv for my special guest! Thank you!