By Nicole S. Daniel
The Birmingham Times
Although the holidays can be fun and filled with love, many are quietly suffering with seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, a clinical depression that impacts people in the fall and winter months.
“It’s a form of depression that mainly affects women between the ages of 18 to 30 in the winter and fall season,” said Pauletta Brown, Life Coach at Lets Do Lyfe.
Brown said women are the ones more likely to be honest with their feelings. “Depression affects men, but they’re not as open to go seek help about it. But women are the ones to go seek help,” she said.
She pointed out that daylight saving time causes darkness earlier in the day and that can negatively affect the mental health of younger adults. “If you think about it, the day ends at around 4:30. The days are much shorter. People will be out more during the day, because it’s light outside and they are able to be active, now you’re confined to your home. For people who live alone, they are used to being inside from 7:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Now, you’ve added almost another three to four hours to being in the house. That can cause depression,” Brown said.
Social media can also have an impact on the way people think during this season, she said. “Around this time people want to be in romantic relationships [and] there’s this thing about matching pajamas with your partner. That’s a big thing. It’s a goal for some because that’s what a lot of social media influencers are influencing their followers to accomplish. But it just doesn’t happen for everybody.”
At a youthful 50, Brown said she can relate: “God, here I am another year, single and everybody else is out shopping for their mate and doing all these things and kissing under the mistletoe. If you think about it: first there is Thanksgiving, then Christmas, New Year’s, and of course Valentine’s Day. So, it’s like you have all these holidays back-to-back and that can be hard on people. So, if you’re not comfortable in your singleness, then you can find yourself being affected by SAD.”
Brown offers these tips for individuals who want to navigate through SAD during the holiday season.
Be intentional about spending time with friends or family
“I would say people who are introverts probably suffer even more, because those who are introverts really don’t socialize a lot. So not only are you lonely but you don’t even reach out to anybody so definitely work on your social skills during this season. Or engage in new social activities to prevent isolation and enjoy time away from home.”
Get out of the house
“You can go exercising, to the movies, or shopping whether it’s for you a few friends or family. Get out and get some sunlight. Try to get things done before the sun goes down.”
Find a hobby
“Try to occupy some time and direct your energy to something new. Maybe read a new book or start a new television series.”
Know your purpose
“Sometimes knowing your purpose can counteract depression. Operating in purpose is an intrinsic feeling. So, it’ll kill depression feelings, because for me I’m doing something that is helping somebody else, and I see the fruits of my labor.”
Brown is a JAG (Jobs for Alabama Graduates) specialist at Fairfield High Preparatory School, life coach and minister at The Purpose Church in Pleasant Grove, AL.
She became a life coach in 2015 when dozens of friends and family members reached out to her to be a listening ear, for advice and words of encouragement. She soon launched her life coaching business Let’s Do Lyfe where she works with individual clients but she’s passionate about working with married couples.
“I’m passionate about married couples and seeing them identify their purpose and working it out. That’s my specialty, helping couples get to a place where they can let go of things, people and trauma that has held them back so that they are free to operate in their purpose,” Brown said.
To learn more about Brown and her Life Coaching Services visit Let’s Do Lyfe on Facebook or email her at LetsdoLyfe2019@gmail.com
Edits: Changed title, deleted second “mostly” in the sentence and changed woman to women.