Are you affected by sunshine hours, or perhaps more importantly, a lack of them? You are not alone. Hawkes Bay has had above double the normal monthly rainfall so far last month, at 109mm, compared to typically only 49mm. So that explains why!
We are in the traditional busy end of year time, the schooling and community groups we are involved with having their wind-up festive functions. Throw in a work function or two, and of course the planning of Christmas Day - well it's no wonder you're under a heavier load in this 3 weeks of the year. Getting all the things done, and with cheer. Or something like that…
This year we are also experiencing another SAD start to the summer. And I made those capitals because it is an acronym of a disorder - not me just being shouty. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a diagnosable medical condition, affecting people’s brain and wellbeing. You can find out more about it, and treatment options here: https://mentalhealth.org.nz/conditions/condition/seasonal-affective-disorder
Generally Symptoms of SAD may include:
Feeling sad or having a depressed/low mood.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates.
Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much.
Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours.
It usually effects people in Winter, due to that expected seasonal change and shortening of the daylight hours. There are chemical reactions within our brains which happen, to cause these symptoms. But our bodies are currently confused, with memories of last years “Stop/start Summer that never quite happened” here in the ‘Bay fresh in mind. Some are seeing a repeat of that pattern from last year rolling out again.
It is important to realise though, that just because the pattern feels the same so far, it is not necessarily going to BE the same. If those with an overthinking mind let it wander, you may even feel yourself becoming anxious about the end of last Summer’s catastrophic weather event affecting us again. So be mindful this festive season, as many people may not even be aware of their own thought processes or the subconscious messages they carry. And of course with that event affecting us ALL, many much worse than others, those people may be out there still battling on and now having the added stress of Christmas time whilst not feeling at all festive amongst their grief and loss.
Please be kind, you don’t need to know someone's story to see why they may be having a bad day. That's not important, what can help when you see a person not coping though, is to offer them kindness. An understanding smile, or actually offer to pick up their bags and get them to the car. A simple offer of kindness helps them, and also you. These human touches are what is important in the world, treating others how we wish to be treated fills our own heart too. It can reset the day for 2 people. After all the gift is in the giving, and its better to give than receive so the sayings go.
If you feel that you may be suffering with SAD, or any other anxiety, low mood, or other mental health challenge - please do reach out to your GP for help. If this isn't possible, there are many other agencies listed on the Mental Health New Zealand Website (link above) and keep trying until you find one that suits you. Being supported when you feel vulnerable is really important.
This time of year has always been a challenge for many people, and here in the Bay we are a bunch of kind hearted folk - so keep an eye on your mates, your colleagues, a neighbour. Don't be afraid to ask “Are you OK?” and stop long enough to really notice their answer.
The other most important kindness of course, comes from within. I have noticed clients this week beginning to use comments like “I haven’t done as much walking as I should”. My response is always “That's ok, how about replacing the word should with could?”
Self care has many different avenues to consider. There is the physical body, the emotional/mental, and our spiritual needs too. So that walk she does, may tick boxes for one or more reasons. For example some walk for their physical health only, others approach it as an essential part of their mental wellbeing first and foremost.
So to re-frame any judgement from within is an act of kindness. To say “It’s ok, I'm doing the best I can, with what I’ve got.” Today's client thought about it and realised that she really only actually walked for mindfulness. And now that she is going to a gym class twice a week for physical fitness, that she actually could find time in the evening to stop scrolling mindLESSly, and practice a guided mindFULLness instead.
Isn’t that awesome. Perhaps you could consider what you might be able to look at differently? Is there a way you can offer yourself kindness?
Bowen Therapy is of course a wonderful way to reduce the load on our nervous system, by releasing pressure in the fascia (soft tissue) onto the nerves. A relaxed and regulated nervous system allows you the brain space to sleep and cope better. Feel If you feel like a Bowen Therapy treatment might help you to feel supported as you navigate stress, overwhelm, or any other condition you're struggling with, please check out my bookings at www.soothemysoul.co.nz/book-now/
My Christmas wish is for everyone to feel supported and cared about. May you be the love you wish to receive and send that vibration out through your family, and community. Just like a Bowen move, that ripple effect can be powerful stuff!