Handling the Changing Seasons with Lyme Disease

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The change in seasons can affect a person’s mood. To go from warm and sunny weather to cold and gray is a shock to the system. Some people experience this so severely they are diagnosed as having Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But even people without SAD can be prone to feeling down as the seasons change. Many people experience decreased energy, a low mood, less of a desire to leave their homes, even food cravings. This is especially true if they are already battling feelings of depression.

People who suffer from Lyme Disease know that the mental challenges of managing the disease can be as difficult as the physical. Lyme Disease can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and the infamous “brain fog.” Sometimes it’s hard to know if the symptoms are caused by the disease or an emotional reaction to having the disease. In either case, the impact can be a struggle. 

Try to keep a routine

It’s so tempting to want to stay in bed when it’s dark and cold outside but try to fight that urge and get into a healthy routine. You can start small by just committing to waking up at the same time every day (preferably when it’s still light out) and drinking a glass of water when you get up. From there you can add all sorts of things; breakfast, shower, yoga, answering emails, listening to a ‘midday playlist.’ There’s comfort in routine and it can motivate you to get stuff done. See how long you can keep your streak going!

Schedule a time to mix it up

As important as a routine is doing the same thing every day can get monotonous if you don’t change it up once in a while. Schedule yourself some time daily or weekly to add something new to your routine that you really enjoy. This can be trying a new recipe, watching online videos, knitting, building models, playing with your pet: whatever makes you happy!

Light Therapy

One thing that some people find helpful is light therapy. Sunlight is best, but may not always be possible when you have a chronic illness or a lifestyle that limits you from seeing daylight hours. But there are ways to indulge your body’s need for the sun without having to go outside. Ordinary home lights aren’t enough, no matter how bright they are, however artificial “sunbox” lights with special fluorescent tubes that mimic the sun’s beneficial rays are available and are considered the go-to treatment for those with any level of winter depression. Doctors recommend them for not just those with SAD but also those with “The Winter Blues” as a method of elevating their mood.

Keep Good Food in the House

Winter, indoors, bored, food cravings: you’re going to eat. And that’s not a bad thing. The trick is to limit the amount you binge on snack foods and up the number of healthy foods you throw into the mix. Things like sugar, while great as a treat, can lead to a hard crash which will make you feel tired and lethargic. Things like nuts, fruits, veggies, and hummus are all great healthy choices. And keep an eye out for things rich in Vitamin D to try and boost what you’re not getting from sunlight. When you’re out shopping load up your cart with healthy choices and a few select favorite indulgences. You can’t overindulge in junk food if it’s not there!

Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. Sign up for our beta and newsletter today.

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