During the winter, we see an increased sense of cheer because of the holidays. From late November to early January, many place their focus on being with their family and loved ones. However, what we fail to bring awareness to is the fact that sometimes people's emotional and mental well-being take a hit during the colder months.
Winter can be taxing for someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as seasonal depression) or has depressive symptoms in general so every ounce of support during this time is appreciated.
Instead of trying to "snap out of it" and feel obligated to fake a smile for the sake of making others happy, couples can foster supportive communication within their relationship and try creative and practical ways to keep their relationship steady.
Here are 5 ways to keep your relationship on a good note when one or both partners have SAD:
1. Don’t try and play therapist.
Unless you're actually a therapist, you shouldn't put yourself in that kind of position of knowledge or authority — or put that pressure on yourself. Even if your advice is coming from the most caring place in your soul, you'll want to stray from trying to solve or diagnose your partner.
2. Keep your sex life alive.
This may be easier said than done because going through depression can release neurotransmitters and hormones that make your sex drive almost non-existent. However, there are ways to at least attempt to combat a low libido. To get yourself in the mood, try practicing meditation or meditative breathing to keep your body calm and relaxed enough to focus on sex.
Then make time to connect with your partner without the stress of sexual performance involved. It can start off as a simple, naked cuddle session and advance to a make-out session to help release those feel-good chemicals. Sometimes the biggest way to help out your sex drive is by starting off small rather than forcing yourself to go for the grand finale.
3. Plan a quick vacation somewhere sunny.
Have a weekend getaway to a warmer climate. Not only does travel give you a break from your daily routine, but increasing the vitamin D levels you receive from the sunshine can improve the quality of your mental state. If you've never planned out a quickie vacation and you're not sure where to begin, Dr. Ruth, the world's most famous sex therapist, offered Swoon some tips about quickie vacations and how to keep the spark alive.
4. Rearrange and/or redecorate your home.
Don't have the time or the money to go on a quick vacation? Have no fear. You may not be sipping your favorite drink on the beach, but redecorating your house isn't a bad alternative. You can switch out some of our old decor for something new, re-paint the walls in one of the rooms to a brighter color, deck the house with festive accessories, or just rearrange the furniture in one of the rooms for a fresh setup.
5. Add aromatherapy into your schedule.
Aromatherapy is a drug-free option that may also help those with seasonal disorder. Clinical psychotherapist Dr. Kalayjian says "The essential oils can influence the area of the brain that's responsible for controlling moods and the body's internal clock that influences sleep and appetite."
Try incorporating some essential oils into your skincare routine, adding a few drops of essential oils to your bath at night to help you relax or buy an essential oil diffuser so that the scent will disperse into the air for you to inhale.
Overall, there's no easy fix behind depression, and it'll be a struggle not to let SAD affect your relationship. Nevertheless, as long as you're actively communicating with one another and being proactive to make things work, then you've already taken a step in the right direction.
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