seasonal Affective Disorder

Conscious Health & Wellness Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Here at the clinic it’s been a challenging Autumn.  Along with the change of season and cooler autumn breeze, many of our long-time patients were suddenly coming in with acute anxiety, insomnia and stomach upset, and we had an influx of new patients coming in for help with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Everyone’s life seemed to be turning upside down. Was it a coincidence? 

No.  It was simply Autumn coming in and we at Conscious Health and Wellness, Inc. knew to expect this because the Ancient Chinese scholars understood that with each season comes a shift in energy and emotion. 

Summer energy is light, bright and upward- it’s warm out, we want to be outside and have fun, we have more energy for things. 

The shift into Autumn brings a downward energy- cooler air brings us indoors more, the days become shorter bringing less light, and we begin to feel an air of sadness and grief, and we often don’t know why… 

Well, there is a reason for this- for each season, there is an emotion/movement of energy: For summer, it is Joy/upward energy.  For Autumn, it is Grief/downward energy.

Autumn is nature calling us to change and care for ourselves in preparation for winter. It’s calling us to move inward– to return to our source, rejuvenate and build the energy required for the coming Spring and Summer.

Einstein said:

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Emotion comes from the latin word meaning “to move.”  Emotion – whether it be joy, sadness or grief- is calling for action.  We are not meant to stay in one emotion for too long, and the feeling is calling us to move something: sometimes it’s our diet, the need to exercise, the call to forgive someone, to surrender defeat, to find a new job, change a relationship, to “spice things up!,” etc.

Why do acupuncture and herbs help our patients so much and so quickly?  Because they move energy.  If you are a patient of our’s, you have already experienced how just minutes after your acupuncture needles have been inserted, you are already feeling more calm and have less pain; and how just days into your herbal regimen, you notice your anxiety is reduced, you are sleeping better, and you think more clearly.

This movement of emotion/energy is integral to your health and well-being.  The movement is what prevents emotional and physical symptoms of depression, anxiety and other physical ailments.  Emotions are important and purposeful, but we must remember that like waves of the ocean, they are meant to come and to go.  Nature is our teacher.  The trees of Autumn instruct us in letting-go.  Trees have properties that allow them to conserve the nutrients produced in their leaves before they let them go.  This allows the tree to be fit and ready to grow in the following season.

And so with us.  Now is the time for reflection and acknowledgment- for all that has been good and for all that we’d like to see change. What may feel like grief, sadness or anxiety in your body, is a call to let-go of some aspect of life…

The time is Now.

If you can do this, you can move into the Winter season with less angst, and act like the trees- conserving energy and growing within in preparation for the Spring, when you can  emerge with energy, vibrancy and growth- a new you/new project/new baby!  And if not, there is a chance you will carry this grief through winter where it may get worse, and unfortunately prevent you from achieving your goals.

Here are some ways we’ve found to help manage the “downward shift” and change of season:

Here are some ways we’ve found to help manage the “downward shift” and change of season:

Acknowledge the emotion. Trying to avoid or suppress feelings can make them worse and cause physical symptoms of anxiety and depression: chest pain, heart palpitations, crying, insomnia, etc.
Take a moment to ask yourself, “what is this emotion teaching me?”
Exercise!  Physical movement will shift your mood. Aim for 20 minutes per day.

Get some acupuncture.  It will help you move through these emotions.  By enhancing circulation, your nervous system can relax and allow for more clear thinking and enhanced feelings of well-being.

Get support: check in with a friend, a therapist or health practitioner.

Things you can do get ahead of winter-blues:

Check your Vitamin D, B12 and Zinc levels- these are integral to keeping yourself well and balanced.
Start a Gratitude journal. Studies show that listing just 5 things per day that you are grateful for will radically reduce chances of becoming depressed and improve quality of life.
Invest in a salt lamp or some candles – adding physical light during dark days makes a big difference.
Choose a goal for next year. Create a Vision board and take action to achieve your goal. Now is the time to plant seeds, and nurture your goal throughout the winter. Before you know it, spring will come and so will the manifestation of your dream.

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way.

Instead let life live through you.

And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.

How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the side to come?”

-Rumi

Wishing you courage to confront your challenges, the strength to effect change in your life, and comfort through it all,

Miriam

The Conscious blog

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Conscious Health & Wellness Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
Conscious Health & Wellness Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

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