07 Nov The Yurt is cozy and ready to take on Seasonal Affective Disorder

groundpdx_web-13As the calendar turned over to November, we moved back our clocks and were met with cooler, darker, days. The conditions in the yurt are wonderful and it’s a great time to come visit.  The rain drops falling on the roof offer a soothing sound and the heat from the fireplace is inviting.  The perennials and natives in the garden are establishing themselves nicely with the newfound rain.  A sense of calm comes over me every time I meander by the plants and step into the warm yurt.  There is a lot of beauty to be found in this time of year.

Over and over I hear clients describing the triggering of melancholic feelings that occurs when we enter into this time of year.  In the Northwest, history tells us that we now have at least 6 months of grey, cool, and wet weather to look forward to.  The memory of summer is long lost, while the potential for depression, anxiety, lethargy, and stress are all heightened.  Countless Portlanders will now experience elements of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that arises from a change in season.  Typically, onset occurs in the fall and subsides when sunnier weather returns.  On rare occasions, SAD will begin in the spring/summer.  Symptoms include: moodiness, fatigue, hopelessness, depression, and lack of motivation.

A common treatment is light therapy, or the use of a bright light to improve mood.  Many people struggling with SAD have benefited from light therapy or phototherapy, for its effectiveness and convenience of being able to do from your own home.  However, recent research has suggested that talk therapy is more effective than light treatment.  A study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that the benefits of talk therapy, specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in the treatment of SAD significantly outlasted those from light therapy.  Researchers believe that light therapy suppresses the symptoms of depression in the moment, however when you are not using the light, you are not able to draw from any tools to lower the depression.  Talk therapy offers the tools and strategies to lower depression, and clients can use those skills long after the therapy has concluded.

So if you find yourself beginning to struggle as the season changes, consider trying talk therapy or even better, yurt therapy!

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