Today is Election Day and change is in the air. We don’t know the outcome and the future for our electoral representatives, and we do not know the future of our nation at this moment. These days definitely feel like turbulent times. Many of us are feeling anxious about our elected leaders and the state of our city, state and nation right now. We are also exiting summer and will begin to see changes in nature as the trees change colors, the weather gets cooler and the sun will begin to set earlier and earlier each day.
September is always an interesting month because children are returning to school, elections are being held, the weather is changing, hurricanes are still forming and the final third of the calendar year is beginning.
I have been speaking to so many people who have been struggling with the end of summer and the changes that come each fall. For many, seasonal affective disorder is very real and is a type of depression associated with the changing of the seasons. For many, this type of sadness and moodiness can begin in the fall and extend throughout the winter months.
Some symptoms include loneliness, overeating, heaviness in arms and legs, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, a loss in pleasure of your normal activities, difficulty concentrating and even thoughts of death or suicide.
Luckily, there are several people who recognize SAD as a true disorder and have created ways for individuals to emerge from this depression and confusion during this time. For some, just being conscious of the changes around us can be enough to assist in rearranging one’s mood. For others, purchasing a SAD lamp can work wonders. Licensed professionals suggest speaking to your doctor to find the best lamp for your needs. They can assist in figuring out the length time needed under the lamp, the amount of UV necessary and the type of lamp that is most efficient for your needs. They also suggest seeking a doctor or therapist if these negative thoughts persist.
I was speaking to my dear friend Ssanyu Birigwa, who is a bone healer and Reiki specialist who had some thoughts on embracing change. She argues that we must, “make change our best friend.” That is something that might be challenging for some of us—to “cleanse and clear” the energy around us. Furthermore, she argues that we must “eradicate self-centeredness and the roots of misery in our lives.”
So, as we move forward in these next few weeks and months, let us embrace the uncertainty and the change in our lives. Let us be aware of the world around us and continue to think of ways to be agents for positive change as well.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com.