Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

Well, hello Faith!

Faith

Good morning Lois. Hey, how is your garden changing?

Lois                         

It is getting a little more bleak. I will say. I still have a lot of tomatoes, but you’re right, the garden is changing. Just a bit of chill in the air right now and it’s my goodness, little brown leaves.

Faith                    

It’s happening.

Lois                        

One more thing to happen and yet I have some flowers that don’t blossom until the fall. I have this autumn Clematis, which is unbelievable, has a nice fragrance. If you want to buy it right now, you won’t find it because they’ve, they’ve sold out everywhere, but we got one a couple of years ago and so here at the end of the season when everything is beginning to go a little dormant, up pops this beautiful clematis. That’s that way. So if you do spend any time in the garden, I love the fact that we can do things that go in rolling waves.

Faith                     

That’s beautiful.

Lois                       

And still get some joy. As you all are probably feeling it, the season is beginning to shift and it is. You can feel it. Yes, I bet you can feel it up in the mountain.

Faith                     

I can feel it and I can see it.

Lois                       

Ah, barely even darker. And wherever you are in the world, it’s still autumn or fall, even if it’s a different kind of a season. So that’s happening and that’s where we are. And as a result of last week’s podcast that we had on news media, I actually took a really serious look at how I take media in. I think I’d always paid attention to it before, Faith, but somehow our conversation last week really brought that full scale for me. How much do I allow my alerts to define where I go during the day? So I took the alerts off.

Faith                   

And how did it affect you?

Lois                       

You know, it was a little scary those first couple of days just because I’m not used to not like wait a second, I haven’t been informed of the latest something or other. The funny part was I didn’t miss a beat when it came to the news I ingested by the end of the day. It was just on my terms which felt really pretty good.

Faith                    

It’s nice to have control over the news, right?

Lois                      

Yes. And it’s not really that the events were any easier. Right. I mean things are really challenging but it wasn’t taking over my life. That’s wonderful and very, very different. So we want to let you know that if our podcasts are impacting you on any level, if maybe you’ve made a change up in how you listen to the news or anything else, would you let us know and we’d love it if you’d share our podcasts with someone or with lots of people. You can actually give them your podcast app and have them find more to life with faith and Lois. And then you can go to our website which is www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com And you can sign up for our free weekly newsletter and that’s all we will be barrage you with by the way. But that way you can download directly from this newsletter that you get if you’d like to do that. So today we are moving into a new season as been talking about, so our podcast is right on schedule, Episode 90. Transition: The Impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Faith                   

This is such an important topic because it’s overlooked a lot of times and it’s one of the main reasons when we were talking about what to do next, this came to mind that this would be really good to address because sometimes people don’t even know what’s happening and I think once you hear a little more of the symptoms and some of the reactions, maybe a light bulb will go on for some of you to consider that maybe this is a part of what maybe you might be facing.

Lois                      

You know it’s also known as SAD, which is interesting. Seasonal Affective Disorder, they use the acronym, SAD, and it’s a type of depression that’s triggered by changes in the seasons. They begin and they end for you the same time every year. So it’s if you have it at a certain time of year, this is when it’ll happen. It doesn’t get triggered by other things. That’s right. So what’s your relationship with Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Faith                   

For me personally, I’m so attuned to December 21st the winter solstice. It’s like yay, it’s going to get lighter now. So obviously that light factor is an issue. It’s, I don’t get terribly depressed, but I cannot wait for it to get brighter and to start to see the sun change in the sky. So right now we’re in this phase of where we’re losing light and it’s like, okay, how far is it to December 21st and I do the countdown starting like right about now it’s like okay, there’s so many months and then Yahoo we get to go the other way again. So I don’t like the end of June where it’s like, okay, we’re going to start going into the dark. So I, my mind is attuned to that, but for some people it’s true, deep, deep suffering. They get massively depressed when the light begins to fade or different changes of season can impact people differently. So it’s a real issue.

Lois                        

It’s a real issue for a lot of people. And while the lack of light doesn’t impact me the same way that it impacts you, I am one of those who has, I get it in the summertime. So there are far fewer of us that get it then because mine isn’t effected by light, it’s affected by heat. Right, and I really do have the very similar things that we’re going to describe to you of what some of the symptoms are. I actually have those when the summertime hits and if we hit 90 to 100 degrees on a regular basis. So I just know where I can’t live. And even living in Denver, Colorado, this has been one of our warmer summers that we’ve had. So I could really feel the impact of this. And now watching the season changing just to the beginnings of what fall might look like. I’m already springing up with hope. So see, this is where it’s so good that you and I will just balance it out.

Faith                    

Right. We’ll be great encouragers.

Lois                      

All year round because now I’m thinking I’ll take over for just a little while here where I’m a little bit up and the doldrums won’t affect me quite as much. But for about 5% of the population in the United States, this Seasonal Affective Disorder is really a significant factor in terms of depression and 20% more experience it in a milder form and it’s related to changes in the amount of daylight. It specifically is about daylight and what happens to you and that’s why for most people who are effected by SAD, it happens in the fall and in the winter because that’s when the light changes the most for those of us here in the United States. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about because it literally can SAP your energy, it can affect your mood and you may be wondering what’s going on. You can’t pin it to anything specific like there hasn’t been an incident but around you, this is what’s happening. So we thought we would check in with a couple of resources. And it’s not to say, I mean if you have a serious issue, of course we’re going to recommend that you really go in and see somebody and talk to somebody. But there may be some connection to SAD that you don’t even realize it. So we thought we’d share with you what the Mayo Clinic is describing as some serious things to look for.

Faith                    

That’s excellent. So feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day is one of the first things that you begin to recognize. And like you said, there’s nothing to attach it to. You just had this kind of Ah, it’s the sad feeling, like I don’t feel like myself. What’s wrong with me? And oftentimes that’s a, the first clue is to kind of evaluate that. Do one of those body scans, you know, how am I doing overall? And if it continues, that could be the first red flag.

Lois                      

So remember, it’s this time of year specifically that we’re talking about and if you’re starting to feel that, notice that something else that you might discover about yourself during this time is that you lose interest in activities that you once enjoyed. It happens because you’re not getting the daylight. And so maybe what happens is you’re not sleeping well as a result of that. So take notice if there’s something you really like to do and you just can’t seem to get that interest level back up again. Possibly this has impacted me.

Faith                 

It could be, and especially with that activity, if you are a summer outdoorsman that loves to go fishing, that loves to hike and do various things, suddenly that’s stops. So what can you replace it with? And if you don’t like the winter sports, it is a bit of a dilemma. Yes. Yeah.

Lois                       

And if you notice that your energy is dropping lower and lower and you simply can’t seem to, you know, drink and have coffee or have enough green tea or walk around enough and you’re noticing this low energy, you may be impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Faith                

And having problems with sleeping or oversleeping having a really difficult time getting up. You find yourself being late to work more often than you are in the summertime. Again, just another little red flag that you might check out.

Lois                        

There are others who experience change in appetite or weight. So if this happens specifically at this time of year, every year. And so this is something that is just start noticing your body. Some of us pay more attention to our bodies than others. You know, I walk around and meet people that are so hyper aware of everything in their presence and others who just like, why am I feeling this? I asked the question all the time and it’s repeated and maybe if this is happening every year to you around this time of year, it could be connected to SAD.

Faith                  

Or feeling sluggish or agitated. And that’s just not your nature. It’s something that you don’t do very, you know, it’s, you don’t get mad about things, but suddenly you’re getting irritated and frustrated with things that can be another clue to the SAD.

Lois                       

And remember this has something to do with the amount of light that you’re getting and this is what’s impacting your brain and impacting your emotions. And so you may struggle with concentration and you just can’t, like you start something and you just can’t seem to finish it and you can’t figure out why because again, there’s no exterior stimuli that’s causing this that you can put your finger on at that moment.

Faith                

Feeling hopeless or worthless or guilty. And as you’re listening to these symptoms, you know, you can hear the similarity to depression and to deep depression, right? Because all of these are factors. And sometimes that’s why people ignore them cause I’m like, I’m not depressed. It just comes in more of a subtle form. So just be aware of that.

Lois                     

And in a more dangerous form if you have frequent thoughts of death or suicide at this time. This just kind of puts it all together, right? Both, I mean that the depression is heavy, but it might be more intense right now because of the lack of light in your life.

Faith                    

Yes, and tiredness or low energy, just feeling very lethargic. Those are all the symptoms to really consider and weigh and sometimes that does have to be discerned with a good professional if you’ve had some tendency to be depressed in the past. But if your normal way of life is not be super depressed or fall into depression, especially when you have light and it’s a different season than this is something to consider that it might be SAD.

Lois                        

So we are on Episode 90 Transition: The Impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is SAD. And some of the risk factors do include your gender and your age and your family history. So some things to consider as you look up and research this for yourself. Women are more likely to be impacted by this, although men are still impacted. If you start with SAD, it generally starts when you’re younger and then follows its way through, but maybe you’ve never noticed it because you just aren’t that aware of yourself. And then if you know anyone in your family that suffers from this, the likelihood of you suffering from it is also fairly significant.

Faith                   

So there’s a number of ways to manage Seasonal Affective Disorder and here are a number of suggestions from helpguide.org.

Lois                          

So one of the first things you can do is get as much sunlight as possible and natural sunlight as possible.

Faith                      

Yes, yes. As much as you can. Soak it up, get out, do things, take a walk and whatever. But that’s sun is your friend, especially when it’s limited during the day.

Lois                       

You know, sitting near a window. Yes. We were just talking about this earlier today, that where I work, my office is where our dining room used to be and I reworked it there because I get so much light faith. And so I find myself far more creative because that light is hitting me from all sides when I’m sitting at my computer.

Faith

Absolutely. And you can do that. If you’re in a cubicle at work, get near Windows at lunchtime, go outside, do what you need to do. But that light is just like I said, it is your friend. Think about a cat. Cat loves to lay in the sun, not because of just the warmth, but I think, you know, they may be getting some of that vitamin D themselves.

Lois                         

That’s really true. And make sure you turn on the lights during the day. I mean, we know we’re saving being energy efficient when you leave a room, but when you’re in it, it will make an enormous difference, especially if you are impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder. So be really aware of that. Another thing that you can do yourself to manage SAD is to exercise regularly.

Faith                    

Mm. That is so important. And just to find what works for you, even if it’s doing some pushups or setups or moving your legs and arms around. Um, anything that is helpful for you to be able to do based on where you are physically. Do it. Just a little bit of exercise, getting that blood flowing a little bit, walking from room to room a little bit more. Going upstairs in your home all can be a benefit. And if you are healthy, get out there and go to the gym and do that at least a three times a week. Those are the kinds of things that stimulate, engaging, being involved and your body is moving.

Lois                        

And your brain chemicals kind of get released with those serotonin and the endorphins. And, and this isn’t a joke, especially for any of you who are struggling with seasonal affective disorder. Those endorphins being released really get challenged. And even though you have less light, you have a way to combat it in a very natural way and level.

Faith                     

And one other thing too that comes to mind. Listen to things that are inspirational, like More to Life – or watch things on TV that are inspirational. If you were looking at things that are depressing and heavy, that also affects you because that’s the outside influences that you’re taking in. And that just accumulates inside of you. So be careful about what you listen to. And what you bring in, including music and things like that.

Lois                       

So our podcast today is sponsored by A Stepping Stone and if you’re looking for a path to a healthy mind, we want to let you know about an amazing treatment program.

Faith                     

A Stepping Stone located in Greenwood village. Colorado works with using a number of therapies on your journey to be mentally healthy.

Lois                       

Their treatment programs range from one on one counseling and therapy treatment for substance addiction disorder, family and marriage therapy, psychiatric evaluation, and more.

Faith                   

They will work with you as you focus on anxiety or depression issues, substance abuse, sleep disorders or trauma.

Lois                       

A Stepping Stone provides experienced holistic, integrated and comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatments.

Faith                    

They’re open from nine to five and weekends and after hours by appointment. They even have online sessions available.

Lois                      

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction or mental health concern, contact A Stepping Stone today.

Faith                   

You can call them at 303-942-0512 or go online to www.steppingstonenow.com.

Lois                      

We want to welcome you back to Episode 90. Transition: the Impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder. And another tip for dealing with SAD is to stay connected with family and friends who can help you with their relationships. I mean, whether it’s going out for a cup of coffee or meeting somebody for a walk, those kinds of things are really, really important.

Faith                   

Put plans on your calendar, have them posted out, make plans to have lunch or like you said, a tea or something with somebody so that you can look at your appointment. I’ll go, I have this scheduled. It helps you know that life keeps moving.

Lois                        

You know, maybe after work you can sign up for a class if you can do that or a book club or, or you know, you could have a podcast club where you listen to More to Life with Faith and Lois, but something that you do with other people that will support you in your relationships.

Faith                    

Socialization is key, if there’s the issue of SAD in your life.

Lois                      

You can also eat well and incorporate really great foods into your diet, which you probably already do, but there’s no doubt that if you add things like Omega three fats like fish and walnuts and flaxseed into your diet, there’s been lot of research to show how these really good foods for you make a difference in how you feel and then how you respond to this lack of light.

Faith                    

And if you haven’t gotten checked by your doctor for vitamin D do it. It’s a key factor in a lot of people are really low in vitamin D and have no idea. They just don’t even know what’s there and it can really help boost that for you.

Lois                      

Absolutely, and notice your triggers. You know when you notice things that really get to you because it’s depression that manifests largest with SAD. Notice what triggers you because this can actually take your Seasonal Affective Disorder to the next lower limit if you don’t notice it and you allow things to build up.

Faith                 

That’s really good and practice daily relaxation techniques. It might be meditation, it might just be a time of of just being sitting still and reflecting, which we’ve talked a lot about the benefits of that and just getting centered in prayer or whatever works for you to have that quiet time. I’ve mentioned this several times, I’m listening to some beautiful quiet, calming music every evening and it makes a difference. So that’s a part of my quiet.

Lois                       

Well and as you mentioned just a few minutes ago, I mean watch some things that make you laugh and remember whatever you take in is partly what you push out. And there are so many traditions, faith traditions that speak to that. What you put in is what comes out. So especially during this time, if you’re impacted by seasonal affective disorder, consider what it is you’re adding to your daily mental diet that might be impacting you physically like this.

Faith                

And then light therapy and photo therapy. This is effective in up to 85% of sad cases. So check with your doctor or your therapist and starting the light therapy before the onset of the symptoms actually can very likely help prevent and reduce SAD. And I’ve had this practice with a lot of my clients and so has my husband with his clients. And what we find is that it really does help and you can avoid some of the impact and there’s light boxes and there’s these light clocks that will bring up the the sunrise in your room. Different things work for different people, but if you talk to your doctor, talk to your therapist, there’s ways that you can get additional help so that you can feel better.

Lois                        

Yes. You know, you can go to Mayo clinic.com and look at the strategies they have. You can also go to Amazon. If you’re looking for some of these wake up lights or therapy, light alarm clocks, they’re there for you and they’re not exorbitant. And it might make the difference for these next three to four months that we are now coming into with less light.

Faith                  

So start at now if you’re thinking about it, you know, check it out, it’s not going to hurt you and you are only talking 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re in a light box and you can read and you can read your newspaper, whatever you’d like to do so you’re not wasting time and but it can, you can feel the benefits hit you.

Lois                       

And if you really notice that Seasonal Affective Disorder is taking a toll, by all means, use talk therapy, go to your therapist, dear life coach, to your psychiatrist wherever you need. I mean we mentioned A Stepping Stone before. If that’s where you need to go, please do it because there are people who are trained to work with you as you want to move through this part of your life. That’s so good. And there are medications as well. So you may end up with your doctor or your psychiatrist who says, you know what? You’re at a place where this would really help in this treatment. So we want to offer all sorts of ways for you to manage this season and these next few months of your life.

Faith                

Don’t suffer. That’s the key thing you do not need to suffer.

Lois                     

We would love to see you get through this season feeling much better than you did last year as you transitioned to this fall.

Faith                    

Be aware of a change in your mood and consider an action plan to manage SAD.

Lois                       

Take in as much sunlight as possible, opening your blinds or getting outside in the morning and adding some vitamin D to your diet.

Faith                   

Use every tool you know to manage the triggers you face from journaling to walking to eating well and share this podcast with anyone you know who may be experiencing or you suspect could be experiencing SAD.

Lois                        

And join us next week for Transition, the Impact of Gossip.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.