How to Keep from Falling Apart This Fall

​How to Keep from Falling Apart This Fall

​By Katie MacDougall, LPC

I remember the first time the holidays didn't feel quite so merry.  It was the year after my uncle died when I was nine.  Sure, I remember there being presents galore, great food, and a lot of smiles, but there was something missing.  Not just something, someone.  There wasn't the happy-go-lucky guy that used to sneak my sister and I across the street to play on the playground.  There wasn't my aunt or my cousin to laugh and play with.  There wasn't the vegetarian option that he always required.  In other words, there was a hole.  Chances are you too have some mixed emotions around holidays like I did after my uncle died.  Each year brings new changes for everyone.  Some of those changes sweet, some are bitter, and some are a mix, but all require some of that tough adjustment I remember so well when I lost my uncle.  It seems like holidays bring up those emotions more than any time of year.
Know Why the Season Change Is Difficult.

Did you know that the holidays aren't the only reason that the fall and winter can be sad? There's a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that sometimes causes these feelings to be worse.  Simply being away from the sun for too long or not going outside enough is enough to increase your risk of experiencing SAD this fall and winter.  Below is an infographic I made to help explain SAD.  I hope it will help you prepare for the colder months of the year. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Take Preventative Steps to Feel Better.
If you or a loved one may be experiencing SAD, talk to your primary care physician today about getting some help.  Counseling may also be a good option for you during this season.  That's where I can help.  Give me a call about a possible appointment at 405-664-3960.

In the meantime, you may be able to take some preventative steps.  Here are a few ideas:

  • ​Plan a vacation during the winter months.  Go somewhere that has a little more sun—like the beach!

  • ​Get outside.  Even when it's cold, there's something important about getting outside.  Try to go during the daytime and set goals for going outside more this fall and winter.

  • ​Exercise.  It may be too cold to go on a jog outside in February but try some inside activities that get you moving and sweating.

  • ​Enlist help.  Schedule times to talk to people you trust.  Start developing a network of people you can call or go places with.  Ask people to reach out if they notice you're isolating yourself.

​May this fall and winter be less SAD than ever before!

About the Author

Katie MacDougall holds a Master of Divinity with a specialization in Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma City University. She is an ​Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Certified Therapist, which is a research-based method to help those suffering from traumatic events.

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