SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – Brief info (hopefully useful)

The time changed and all the kids at our son’s daycare were cranky. We already know that as adults we get cranky when the time changes and it gets darker sooner. But the kids also? Before winter really sets in and the darkness gets you down, take heed:

Can children experience seasonal affective disorder? http://long-island.newsday.com/kids/can-children-experience-seasonal-affective-disorder-1.6375351

General information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness on SAD: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=54&ContentID=23051

Five ways to beat seasonal depression: http://health.yahoo.net/rodale/PVN/5-ways-to-beat-seasonal-depression

Beating Winter Blues (5 Ways): http://www.wisebread.com/winter-blues-13-proven-ways-to-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder

My tips:

1. Be alert to signs and symptoms in yourself, your children, family, and friends – intervene early; call a mental health professional if needed.

2. Find ways to increase your energy level before the sun begins to set: run around while it is still light outside, exercise, drink plenty of water, etc.

3. Avoid the dark clothing colors of fall and winter – keep the spring colors out and visible on your body

4. Celebrate the sun setting by creating a fun ritual: make up a silly song with your kid(s), eat an energizing snack (banana) as the sun sets, create a way to say “bye-bye” to the sun and “hello” to the stars and moon

5. Keep a consistent schedule to avoid the night-time slump

6, Even thought some mental health experts do not believe that artificial light indoors helps, try some brighter lights – maybe use lights in different colors to mix it up and keep it fun and bright!

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On Being a Middle Aged Woman of Color in America Striving for Self-Care

Warning – social and political views are clearly expressed…AND no one who knows me should take this personally.

I took some time away from blogging because I was supposed to be engaging in self-care. I ended up having to care a lot for others, but that is sometimes how life works out. I did have the opportunity to reflect a lot on the stage of life in which I find myself – a woman of color sandwiched between a preschooler and an aging parent with a spouse, both of us mid-career with lots of questions and doubts.

I like my age and being labeled as “middle age” if it pleases the Human Behaviorists. I also take with it the lessons learned (usually the hard way) and hope other women can embrace them sooner than I did.

  1. I am a woman of color for which you require no explanation and I offer no apology.
  2. That being said I do not need to identify myself in every situation. I am who I am. You do not need to ask or know.
  3. I may not always accept your way of doing things and that should be o.k. because you don’t have to accept my way either…hopefully we’ll meet somewhere in the middle.
  4. I am REALLY o.k. with not doing everything the “right” way and in fact I know that there REALLY is no one “right” way to do, say, or be (sorry to all the etiquette freaks).
  5. I have lived long enough to know that I do not have to be friends with everyone I meet nor does everyone I meet have to like me.
  6. My mom was right.
  7. Love changes and is changing…it evolves and grows and diminishes and reappears.
  8. I do not have to do what I do not want to do.
  9. I do not need a posse or 1 million “friends” on FB or “followers” on Twitter.
  10. True unconditional friends take me how I am, whenever I come to them, don’t ask lots of insignificant questions and offer what is needed.
  11. My hair is o.k.
  12. I know that Women’s Rights are everyone’s rights and that means women are human and should stopped being discussed as if we are not in the room and cannot hear you. We hear you and see you and we’re coming after you! #ReproductiveRights
  13. Related to Women’s Rights is the idea that I know we are all worthy of respect and dignity (my social worker self is speaking) and that means #VoterRights for all, Fair Immigration Policy and Universal Health Care!
  14. Patience is a good thing when you can find it and investing in one of those gadgets or apps  that beeps, buzzes, uses language not appropriate for my preschooler is a good substitute for when my patience has gone missing.
  15. Red wine and caffeine are good. Stop researching and publishing studies to the contrary.
  16. Naps are also good.
  17. I know I am intelligent, witty, funny, loving, giving, creative, and other than writing this statement here I do not need to talk about it with others. Nor should you ask me to prove any of the above.
  18. Related to #1, #2, and #3 my personal choices are mine (and sometimes my spouse’s) and no explanation is needed so your criticism is unwelcome.
  19. Life is too short to cut out bacon.
  20. Self-care is important and can mean different things/manifest in different ways.
  • Speaking up for yourself/finding your voice is slef-care
  • Advocating for others/being passionate about something is self-care
  • Setting clear boundaries is self-care
  • Asking for help is self-care
  • Loving your family and friends is self-care
  • Taking a nap/being still
  • Drinking some wine (and or coffee)
  • Eating ice cream, potato chips, a bacon cheeseburger….
  • Exercising (even a 15 minute walk)
  • Being o.k. with who you are is self-care!