Updated: Aug 28
The chill in the air, early sunsets, and hazy skies–It's that time of the year again when some people can't help but have strange feelings.
In short, they are clinically SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
The condition affects anywhere between 5 to 10 percent of the global population, more so in colder countries where long due holidays coupled with frigid weather and staying home leads to a grumble-it-all-situation (Cleveland Clinic)
The underlying reason is often a messed up circadian rhythm echoed by symptoms like fatigue, depression, oversleeping or insomnia, lack of concentration, and loss of appetite.
SAD is a whole lot different than usual episodes of anxiety and depression, thus leaving the majority to think it's not just the holiday blues but something more. In extremely complicated cases, substance abuse, alcoholism, social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts aren't uncommon as well.
Well, the good news is, SAD is treatable and besides other doings, art therapy can work towards restoring the balance.
Read on to know how.
A non-standard approach that seems to do the trick
From vitamin supplements, yoga, meditation, and light therapies, treatment options for SAD have witnessed a wide spectrum of recommendations. In comparison, art rests as a non-standard approach, but with better success rates in helping people cope up with related symptoms.
Indulgence in art gives one a sense of accomplishment, restores the feeling of having a purpose in life. In other words, when seasons affect your mood and energy levels in a rather odd way, one can still cry it out– ”I can create beauty”– and this is significant because it appeals to one’s inner senses like nothing else in comparison.
In an effort to trace and document the impact of art on mental health, a 2015 study tells the story of an otherwise socially reclusive man and how art helped him see things from a new perspective.
A collaborative community led mural painting project was the only reason the man who usually stayed indoors all the time came out in public. Not only he painted with others but also opened the doors gradually to mix and interact with people. In every single workshop held for the project, he would be the first to arrive and last to leave. When the project came to an end, he concluded saying it was the first meaningful thing that he had done in 12 years, and it was pretty evident from his level of excitement and joy in his eyes.
Needless to say, art saved the day yet again!
A sublime way to acknowledge your emotions
While SAD impacts individuals differently, art as a form of therapy restores the capacity to feel again, just the way you want. You see, depression sets in when you are not being able to express yourself. Art, in essence, can help in ways unimaginable.
It acts as a fine gateway to pour your heart out as you are lost in the joy of creating.
A simple act of painting on a paper or a canvas, or a craft not only externalizes a significant part of your being to something tangible but also gives permission to voice and acknowledge your emotions, the ones you have fought so long to keep them suppressed.
Do you experience symptoms of SAD?
Have you ever turned to art to see how it helps?
If not, then no day is as good as today to give art a shot. Get some colors and canvas, pick up a brush, and paint your SAD blues away!
If you or know someone who might benefit from seeking professional assistance do reach out to us at Manoshala
Ipsit Roy, Writer, Artist Manoshala
Bhavya.P, Counselling Psychologist, ManoShala