Do you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?

Many people I talk to tell me that November in the Okanagan Valley is their most "dreaded" month of the year. I've lived here in Kelowna for over thirty years, so I know what they are talking about.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a problem. Horses can help lift sad moods and inspire us.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a problem. Horses can help lift sad moods and inspire us.

As weather cools off in late October and November a dreary fog covers the valley. The days get shorter, nights colder. We dig out our boots, put on warmer clothes and deal with much less daylight. We can't control that, we live in Canada, after all!

Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because of the lack of available daylight. The symptoms are "winter blues" and "depressive thoughts", including sleeping too much, weight gain, withdrawal from social life. Even people who have normal mental health can find themselves affected and suddenly not so cheerful or engaged.

This condition can be bad enough for some that they temporarily "escape" the dreaded winter months by leaving for warmer, sunnier climates. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a holiday in a warmer climate... unless it's actually an underlying depression you're fighting.

Research has been done on SAD. In Wikipedia an interesting fact was stated: "It is no longer classified as a unique mood disorder, but is a specifier for recurrent major depressive disorder called With seasonal pattern that occurs at a specific time of the year and fully remits otherwise. Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder."

Have you experienced Depression?

Depression and sadness can be difficult to deal with.

Depression and sadness can be difficult to deal with.

If depression is something you're suffering with already, then you may be more susceptible to experience a worsening of symptoms with seasonal patterns such SAD.

By the way, SAD doesn't just occur in the winter. Wikipedia states: "People who experience spring and summer depression show symptoms of classic depression including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, social withdrawal, and decreased sex drive".

Even if you don't suffer from depression normally, if SAD affects you, it can be difficult to deal with. There are a number of recommended SAD management tips and treatments available; light therapy and Vitamin D supplements seem to be among the most common recommendations. You can talk to your doctor and read up on various tips on the internet.

A Different Approach to SAD or Depression

As a Counselor and Life Coach, I have a another recommendation, one that may seem quite unusual: Work with horses. Spend time outside; fog, drizzle, mist and all, move around, and engage with horses.

What always amazes me (and my clients when they come for sessions) is that no matter how depressed a person is, no matter what the climate is like, the horses are so present, and can make you feel so alive.

Working with horses in autumn can be inspiring as horses love cooler temperatures.

Working with horses in autumn can be inspiring as horses love cooler temperatures.

Did you know? Horses by nature thrive in our November temperatures here in the Okanagan. Being that a horse's core body temperature is naturally warmer than a human's, their favorite outside temperature is between +10 and -5 degrees Celsius. This is when the horses come alive with more energy to spare!

They like to exercise more and play and move around more. They have extra spunk, and what a great time to be with horses modeling for us that autumn is the time to joyfully play! The horses look for little sprouting grass left on the field, and breathe in the moist, crisper air. We are alive!

What is truly amazing is how the horses' physical presence brings us back to the spiritual meaning of life. It is truly grounding and uplifting.

Working with horses can change sad moods, negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

Working with horses can change sad moods, negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

 

Of course, if there are any underlying issues to any type of depression, whether it shows up seasonally or is always present, Equine Assisted Therapy and Counseling will help shed light on what needs healing.

Through these sessions, you will have an opportunity to "dig a bit deeper" and unearth the emotions and thoughts that keep you stuck. Research is confirming the effectiveness of Equine Therapy.  

Turning "stuck in a Rut" into "flowing like a River"

Connecting with horses.

Connecting with horses can be very healing and uplifting.

As an Equine Facilitated Coach and Counselor, I am always passionate to share these amazing therapy sessions with the horses. It is our mission to help, guide and support you. It's intriguing how grey November days can start to feel the opposite of depressing. When the "rut stories" turn to "river stories", depression lifts and transforms into an inspiring feeling. The beautiful thing is this possibility is available to anyone who needs or desires it, through Equine Assisted counseling sessions.

Spend November at Horse Journey!

By the way, there is still time for several "Healing with Horses" sessions before snow and winter sets in. Maybe now is your time to tune into yourself through the way of horses. There are a few client spots available for November. So please come while the ground is still bare, the horses would love to see and work with you. Personally, I believe November is a perfect month to get over old, limiting patterns and set new goals for yourself -- before this year ends, finishing with success and clearing the decks for new energy. It's a great time for self-care. Here at Horse Journey, the horses and I can teach you to meditate and breathe deeply being outside and experience a whole, new way of being!

Questions for further thought.

Do you find you are negatively affected as seasons change?
Do you suffer from depression?
What has helped you when you feel sad or blue?
Would you like to learn how to work with your moods and gain a positive, new perspective?

If you would like to explore Your Journey further…

Questions, or interested in experiencing “Healing with Horses”, Equine Facilitated Coaching and Personal Development sessions in Kelowna? Please contact Karin Bauer, BSW, RSW by calling 250-860-1964 or karin@horsejourney.com

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