Category Archives: SAD

Guarding Against Sadness

In our Western society, we have a tendency to guard against sadness. When we see someone who is down, or struggling, we don’t sit with them in their pain, but rather, we try to encourage them to not be sad. We even tell them that they shouldn’t be sad, and then list a long array of reasons why they need to be happy.

The truth is, though, when we do that, it’s because we are uncomfortable with their sadness, because it reminds us of our own.

Now, I’m not talking about the person who is perpetually negative or complaining (nor about the individual experiencing clinical depression). That’s a different story. I’m talking about the person who just found out that a relationship wasn’t what they thought it was, or who lost a loved one or a pet, or their job. I’m talking about sadness and grief, not negativity.

When we see someone experiencing grief, it reminds us of our own fragility – or our human-ness. And, more often than not, we don’t like it. Nobody likes to be reminded that they have weaknesses, or fragility. But sadness isn’t weakness – it takes courage to be sad, to embrace sadness and allow yourself to truly feel it.

I’ve written about it before, but there’s a piece of me that envies the cultures of the near east that allow (almost expect) wailing at the death of a loved one. The expression of grief through public crying (sobbing, really) is quite impressive. But we don’t do that here. Instead, we focus on a life well-lived and all the blessings and good memories, consistently shoving away the sadness we feel inside.

In the end, though, sadness is a human emotion that is a gift. It’s a gift because it gives us information and allows us to heal something unseen. Our soul’s natural state is that of peace and joy. In order to feel sadness, we must be human. In order for our soul to grow and expand, we must experience the things that it alone cannot – that requires being human. Therefore, it’s a gift to feel sadness, because it gives us more tangible experience than our soul alone can have.

But we guard against it. There are numerous “gurus” out there that teach about the path of bliss – which is another way of saying, “don’t be sad.” It’s dismissive of the human experience, because it focuses only on the soul. Well, if you were only a soul – you wouldn’t be here, and you wouldn’t be learning what you need to be learning for your soul to evolve and progress.

So we use platitudes and spiritual bypassing to deny our very human experience of sadness, and it doesn’t help us. What helps us is learning how to move through our emotions with more grace. Progression is not about being devoid of an emotion (like sadness); progression is about learning how to shorten the amount of time it takes for us to restore equilibrium. Instead of feeling down for 3 days, we feel it for 2 days, then 1 day, then hours, and ultimately minutes and seconds. That’s the path of the human/soul union… the path of learning.

 

D to the Rescue!

Every year around this time, I write a little reminder for those of you who, like me, have a little trouble with the decreasing sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Clinically known as “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” I often refer to it as the ‘winter blues.’

It’s a common phenomenon for those who live in areas where the sun goes into hibernation as we head into autumn and winter. In fact, I saw a picture in National Geographic where one town in Norway installed mirrors on a ridge in order to capture sunlight and direct it into the town square for a period of time each day. (check it out ​here)

The residents stand out in the square, faces turned up into the reflected sun, just to get sunlight each day. It’s pretty cool. More importantly, it underscores the importance of Vitamin D for our mental/emotional health.

So, it’s time for this year’s reminder: go get your Vitamin D and start adding it back into your diet. It takes a few weeks to build up the levels needed to sustain you through the darkest months of the year. Have questions or concerns? Make an appointment to chat with your physician.

Want to read what I’ve written about it in the past? Check out my archived article ​here.

D-d-d-d-d-Daylight


Ok – so this is something totally new for me to be writing about, but I feel it’s really important to share, in light of the change in seasons and weather. Did you know that approximately 40% of all Americans are Vitamin D deficient? Did you also know that you would have to drink about 10 glasses of D-fortified milk a day to get enough Vitamin D in your diet? Finally, did you know that Vitamin D is created naturally by your body with only about 10 minutes of sun a day?

Since most of us spend the daylight hours indoors, especially with the recent time change, there is no way we can get enough exposure to the sun without making some small changes in our day. So, with winter upon us and the days getting shorter and shorter, what can we do? Well, for starters, you can take simple steps to increase your natural vitamin D production, such as taking a stroll outside during lunch, if it’s sunny. Alternatively, you can supplement your diet with Vitamin D itself. Of course, the best thing to do is to visit your doctor and see if you can get your own levels tested – I think you might find the results surprising. I know I did!

In my own experience, I started adding Vitamin D to my diet a few years ago, specifically during the winter months. I noticed a difference fairly quickly, and am grateful my doctor recommended this addition to my daily routine. Adding Vitamin D gave me more energy, reduced my desire to hibernate during the winter months, and helped stabilize my mood, even on the dreariest of cold days.

Here’s what I do: I usually start adding Vitamin D back into my diet sometime in October, and I taper it off in April. Depending on where you live, and your access to sunlight, you may want to extend or shorten that time. Finally, I did notice a difference between taking the Vitamin D liqui-gels or tablets. The liqui-gels seemed more effective and easier on my system – plus they were recommended by my doc. And, of course, I stay in touch with my doctor to keep him informed of what supplements I am taking or reducing. With his help I am able to determine the most effective dose for my needs.

So that’s my experience with Vitamin D – and I can honestly say that everyone I have shared this tidbit of information with has experienced similar benefits. So what are you waiting for? Do you need more Vitamin D? More sunshine? Lastly, in case you didn’t realize the importance of this often overlooked nutrient for the body – do a quick search online and read about the long list of diseases and conditions that can be prevented by maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D. You’ll be glad you did.

In love, light and good health,
Martina

*And now the disclaimer: This message is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease, illness or condition. Please see a medical professional for specific advice with regard to medications and/or supplements. *