Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) part 2: Honoring Ancestral Cycles
In our previous article, we delved into the intricate world of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), exploring how it affects individuals living in various climates, including the perpetual summer of tropical regions such as Florida. Today, we’re continuing our journey to understand SAD, but this time, we’re examining SAD through the lens of holistic mental health.
How could your experience of SAD be understood through the lens of your bodies natural connection to the contraction and expansion of the seasons. In this article, we’ll uncover how modernity has dramatically shifted our relationship with the seasons and learn holistic practices to realign your system to nature’s Rhythms.
Ancestral Wisdom and the Cycles of Nature
Our ancient ancestors, particularly hunter-gatherer societies, were intimately connected with the rhythms of nature. They followed a lifestyle that mirrored the changing seasons, adapting their activities and behaviors accordingly.
During the warmer months of spring and summer, they were highly active, hunting, gathering, and preparing for the coming winter. However, as fall and winter approached, they transitioned into a period of relative stillness, conserving energy and resources to endure the harsher months ahead.
Contrast this with our modern, technologically driven society, which often operates in perpetual “summer mode.” The advent of electric lighting, climate control, and instant access to information has allowed us to maintain a constant pace throughout the year. While this has undoubtedly brought many benefits, it has also disrupted our natural ebb and flow—our ancestral cycles of contraction and expansion.
The Relevance of Ancestral Cycles
The concept of ancestral cycles is not just a nostalgic look back in time. It carries profound implications for our mental and emotional well-being, particularly when it comes to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Our bodies, attuned to the ancient rhythms of the Earth, still possess a natural tendency toward contraction during the fall and winter months. This contraction is not a disorder but rather a part of our evolutionary heritage—a time for introspection, rejuvenation, and slowing down.
If you’re experiencing a notable shift in your mood along with the change in the season, it is important to connect with your primary care doctor to rule out medical reasons for this change. A mental health therapist can also help you gain clarity on the difference between a natural contraction in energy and what could potentially be a mental health disorder.
Holistic Practices to Reconnect with Nature’s Rhythms
So, how can we navigate the modern world while honoring our ancestral cycles?
Here are some holistic practices to consider:
Eating Seasonal Foods: Embrace locally sourced, seasonal foods that align with the changing seasons. Nutrient-rich, seasonal produce can provide essential vitamins and minerals, supporting your physical and emotional well-being.
Listening to Your Body: Tune in to your body’s signals. If you find yourself naturally slowing down during the fall and winter, honor that feeling. Allow yourself moments of rest and introspection without judgment.
Utilizing PTO: Consider using your paid time off (PTO) strategically during the fall and winter months. A well-placed break can provide the restorative rest you need to maintain balance throughout the year.
Meditation and Journaling: Engage in meditation and journaling practices to clarify your needs for slowing down, set intentions, and release any emotional burdens.
Energizing Breathwork: Explore energizing breathwork techniques to boost your body’s energy levels during times when fatigue may be more prevalent.
Consulting with Professionals: Consult your primary care provider to rule out underlying medical conditions that could contribute to symptoms of SAD. Seek a mental health professional if SAD symptoms interfere with your daily life, work, or relationships.
Embracing Ancestral Wisdom
In closing, I invite you to take a moment to honor the wisdom of our ancestors, who intuitively understood the importance of seasonal cycles. While our world has evolved dramatically, our bodies and minds may still resonate with the ebb and flow of nature. By embracing this wisdom and incorporating holistic practices into our way of being, we can strive for greater harmony, balance, and well-being throughout the seasons—no matter where we call home.
If you’re ready to get started with therapy in this season, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll learn about your concerns, answer your questions and match you with a therapist that’s right for you.