S.A.D. and Art Therapy

Resisting the urge to be offended that the sun will set before 5pm. I was not done with you sun!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) refers to recurring episodes of depression in the months of winter. Most cases are mild to moderate, however these episodes can lead to impairments in one’s ability to be fully present in the day-to-day, and may impede workplace productivity and can have negative consequences on social relations. SAD can mean having more days where your energy, mood and motivation are lower than usual. It is fairly common and is a natural reaction to nature’s seasonal changes.

Rates of SAD are significantly higher in Northern latitudes, including Canada. In a recent survey, 35% of Canadians mentioned feeling the “winter blues”.  The lack of sunlight, paired with the cold weather, and an increase in at-home time, disconnected from our social group can lead to folks feeling heavy during the cold months. 10-15% of Canadians surveyed have mild SAD, where 2-5% reported experiencing severe symptoms. 

Light therapy is the most common treatment for SAD. In fact, schools in areas where SAD is more prevalent are providing their students with light Therapy. Therapy lights can be purchased online and can cost as little at 40$. Strongly recommend having one, especially if you feel down during the winter. They have made a big difference in my energy levels during the darker days of winter.

Although Art Therapy is a less common treatment modality, through decades of development, has proven itself to be a helpful treatment option for many folks. Art therapy can help us label our emotions. In times when we have difficult emotions inside us, art can help release those emotions, give them space, have them heard, felt and understood. Art therapists listen, openly and compassionately. A therapist can help validate the emotions you are feeling. As humans, so much of what we experience is beyond words. Making art can allow us to express that which cannot be described using everyday language. 

Making beautiful things can help us make space for happy moments in our lives. While making art we may not be thinking about the worries in our lives. Being creative can increase coping skills. Working with an art therapist can help you build confidence in and out of the art studio.

Eyes Open is offering a SAD support group called SAD club starting in January. These weekly meet ups can give you something to look forward to, connected you to like-minded creatives, while giving you space to lament about the winter. We meet Tuesdays at 7pm EST. Check out our calendar for more events and meet-ups.

Published by linneatheartist

Canadian Art Therapist and Death Doula. All services are currently offered online. Sharing my experiences with healing through art.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: