Volume 9 • 2022 • Issue 6

Contributing. One way to assure a “good feeling” and to look forward to a commitment is by contributing to the wellbeing of others. This is easily achieved through volunteering. Most communities have a central agency that co-ordinates volunteer opportunities by providing access to a wide range of options to meet an individual’s area of interest and time commitment. Creating. Consider knitting, clogging, pottery, singing, carving, sculpting, painting, refinishing furniture, writing a poem, baking or any other form of creative expression. Creating opportunities to express our creativity through any number of forms can contribute to a fulfilling winter season, and give rise to anticipation and excitement for the winter to follow. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Many people experience an extreme and prolonged form of the “winter blahs” that is related to dramatic changes in their brain’s chemistry, triggered by diminished sun exposure. This disorder is formally known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), with SAD sufferers experiencing cyclical symptoms beginning in the fall and often persisting until late spring. Symptoms of SAD are similar to those of depression and other ailments, with the distinguishing feature of SAD being the seasonal time frame. SAD sufferers frequently experience: • Feelings of sadness • Tiredness and fatigue during the day • Cravings for carbohydrates with overeating and weight gain • A loss of interest in things usually found pleasurable Individuals experiencing feelings of sadness or any of the other symptoms noted above are encouraged to seek the assistance of a physician or a professional counsellor. Lightening symptoms of SAD For those diagnosed with SAD, significant improvement of symptoms has been experienced through a treatment plan that may include antidepressant medications, light therapy or professional counselling, and often a combination of the three interventions. Light therapy can be useful in relieving symptoms of SAD, with the intensity of the light source and distance from the light source varying according to the individual. Spending as little as a half-hour each day exposed to prescribed lighting can lighten the symptoms for SAD sufferers. Professional counselling Life often presents most of us with problems from time-totime that are distressing, such as with SAD. For individuals with SAD, counsellors can assist by providing emotional support, developing strategies for managing the feelings of sadness associated with SAD, and assisting in improving the quality of the individual’s day‑to-day life. 40 | 2022 | Issue 6 SupportingYour Practice