Struggling with SAD this winter, fellow business owner?
No, we’re not talking about merely feeling sad. We’re referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder—also called winter depression—and it can affect how you run your business more than you think.
How Does SAD Affect Business Owners?
Depending on how severe it is, SAD can certainly affect your ability to lead and grow your business. According to Inc., winter depression can be especially hard on entrepreneurs with all the stress they face on a daily basis.
As an entrepreneur, you likely wear several different hats, including visionary, Human Resources, sales person, quality control, CFO, and more. Feeling depressed or having low energy can make it difficult to perform these crucial tasks that keep your business alive.
SAD can also affect your relationships with friends and family. And for many entrepreneurs, having relational intimacy and support is crucial to doing their job well.
What Is SAD?
Simply put, SAD is a mood disorder that affects people during a season of the year, most commonly winter.
Someone who struggles with SAD might have great mental health all year round until November or December hits. Then, for the next several months, they wrestle with depressive symptoms like having little energy, overeating, oversleeping, or increased anxiety.
This disorder tends to affect more people in the north, where it stays cold and gray longer. SAD is seven times more common in Washington than it is in Florida, according to AAFP.
Why the north? Without as much sunlight during the winter, you may lack Vitamin D and B vitamins. Plus, the shorter days can throw off your circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle), which can put you at risk for SAD.
What Can I Do if I Have SAD?
Thankfully, if you struggle with SAD, there are things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms.
The first thing you should know, though, is that you’re not alone in your struggle! Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones for support through these temporary depressive symptoms.
Light therapy, or phototherapy, is one of the more common and effective treatments for SAD, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It’s also fairly simple to add to your daily routine. It consists of sitting near a light therapy box that emits a bright light, which mimics natural outdoor light. You can do this while working at your desk.
If you use it consistently, you can see results as quickly as one week. Just make sure the light is around 10,000 lux.
People with SAD tend to be low on certain important vitamins, so some supplements and other natural remedies can be effective at negating symptoms.
For instance, many people have found relief by taking Vitamin D or B12. (Just keep in mind that taking too much B12 can put you at risk for an imbalance in other B vitamins.)
Other natural solutions some people have found success with are St. Johns Wort and even fish oil, reports Psychology Today.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Don’t underestimate the power of healthy eating!
Aim for a well-balanced diet that’s high in healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats as well as low in processed foods and sugar. You may find this change in diet will help you regain the energy you’ve lost during the winter months.
Therapy or Counseling
Talking to someone else can do wonders for your mental health—more than you would think.
Consider hiring a professional therapist or counselor to help you navigate your depressive symptoms and emotions.
Journaling is another way to process what you’re experiencing. The act of writing down your feelings and thoughts can help you recognize the truth of a given situation.
Have you ever experienced SAD? How did it affect your business and what did you do to work through it?