Last week, the country’s social media accounts were once again taken over by Bell Let’s Talk, a day encouraging people to discuss mental health issues while raising money for mental health initiatives at the same time. In the spirit of that initiative, let’s talk about one of the most common mental illnesses to hit the workplace this time of year, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Year-round, independent contractors are concerned with their health. Not only is there a health concern but also a financial impact when taking unpaid sick days. Especially in the winter, you do whatever you can to avoid a terrible cold or flu but how much are you doing to treat mental health illnesses like SAD? Surely, this is also something that can lead to decreased productivity or prolonged periods of time off.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), SAD, also sometimes known as the Winter Blues, is a type of clinical depression that can last until Spring and is the result of shortening days with less sunlight that result in people feeling extra gloomy. While it’s common for us to have down days, those affected by SAD feel the symptoms for longer periods of time. Inc. recently published a post describing 9 of these subtle signs:
- You’re irritable and sensitive to stress
- You get into little arguments
- You have low energy
- You dread previously enjoyable social activities
- You feel a general sense of apathy towards your goals
- You have trouble concentrating
- Your appetite changes
- You have trouble making decisions
- You need more recovery time
If you find you experience these symptoms for long periods of time, the CMHA recommends you schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss options. There are a number of treatments including light therapy, medication and lifestyle changes. Melody Wilding, a social worker and blogger committed to helping women overcome emotional challenges of success, also provides 3 quick and simple ways to stave off the winter blues: Put effort into getting dressed at work, try a negative detox, and bookend your days.
How do you ensure you remain healthy throughout the Winter?