Stephanie Vail, LMFT, CGP

Stephanie Vail, LMFT, CGP Relationship-shifter Healing stress and burnout, one health care professional at a time.
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SO OFTEN we experiencing more than one feeling at the same time. I love that PsychCentral did a piece on some of the nua...
03/19/2019

SO OFTEN we experiencing more than one feeling at the same time. I love that PsychCentral did a piece on some of the nuances related to anger. Check out what a few therapists (including me!) had to say on this topic. This article is chock-full of insights and ideas for getting to the bottom of your frustration.

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, as Freud may or may not have said. That is, sometimes anger is just anger. You're annoyed or aggravated, because you're genuinely annoyed or aggravated. But other times, anger sits on the surface while other emotions and past experiences swim underneath. According...

With increased freedom & choices we also have less structure, certainty and community. All couples have A LOT to negotia...
12/11/2018

With increased freedom & choices we also have less structure, certainty and community. All couples have A LOT to negotiate and figure out on their own. And as Perel says, “It’s very difficult to have to define everything ourselves.”

From the New Yorker Festival, the couples therapist and podcast host discusses infidelity, apologies, and the problem with wedding vows these days.

I recently got the chance to speak with PsychCentral.com about my ideas for navigating family dynamics around the holida...
11/10/2018

I recently got the chance to speak with PsychCentral.com about my ideas for navigating family dynamics around the holidays. This piece has lots of practical tips for making the most of what can be a stressful time of year for many of us. Thanks for the feature, PsychCentral!

For most of us the holidays don't exactly resemble a Hallmark movie with easily resolved conflict, fairy tale festivities and everything falling into place. Which can be very upsetting, and lead us to feel like complete and utter failures. Why can't we have a beautiful, stress-free holiday? Why does...

GROUP IS THE BEST FORM OF SELF-CAREYes, this message is for YOU, fellow therapists! ✖️Don't: Wait till Jan. 1 to start t...
10/01/2018

GROUP IS THE BEST FORM OF SELF-CARE

Yes, this message is for YOU, fellow therapists!

✖️Don't: Wait till Jan. 1 to start taking better care of yourself and your own emotional health

✅Do: Consider getting into a process group of your very own. It will transform your practice and improve your relationships from the inside out.

If you need more convincing, read on...

https://stephaniedobbin.com/why-every-good-therapist-needs-a-group/

If you want to get on the phone and talk about whether this group is right for you, fill out an interest form here >> https://stephaniedobbin.com/therapistgroup/

Group work has changed my life. My professional life as a therapist, sure — but that’s not even what I’m talking about here. Group is magic, and if you’re a therapist who wants to use yourself (your thoughts, emotions and intuition) more effectively in therapy room AND get a whole bunch of p...

It’s possible to overlook postpartum depression, mistaking it for ‘normal’ stress and overwhelm related to parenting bab...
09/06/2018

It’s possible to overlook postpartum depression, mistaking it for ‘normal’ stress and overwhelm related to parenting babies and young children. At best, the experience of having children IS overwhelming, to the point that the word can become almost meaningless in the eyes of friends, family and even OBs. And while you may be used to pressing on in the face of pretty intense levels of stress, ignoring major depression or hoping it will pass on its own only extends suffering — for you and the people who love you.

For 38 percent of sufferers, the condition becomes chronic, and mothers who expected it to pass as their children aged can struggle to find effective treatments.

How much energy are you spending on what the scale says today?・・・   with ・・・
09/02/2018

How much energy are you spending on what the scale says today?
・・・
with
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Awaiting our next client 😂
07/11/2018

Awaiting our next client 😂

If you don’t routinely ask for what you want, it’s worth getting curious about what holds you back. Do you have trouble ...
06/27/2018

If you don’t routinely ask for what you want, it’s worth getting curious about what holds you back. Do you have trouble even figuring out what you want? Do you have a fear about how others will perceive you? What ideas do you have about ‘people who ask for what they want’? (Perhaps you see them as selfish, opinionated, entitled, spoiled, obnoxious, indulgent...) Or maybe you are afraid of risking vulnerability and being disappointed. What does it mean to you to say no, or to hear no? This is RICH TERRITORY my friends. A more fulfilling life awaits you on the other side of these key questions 😀 •••




HOW TO GET A HOBBY WHEN YOU HAVE NO TIMEWhat are your hobbies?Wait — what is that you say? You don’t have any free time?...
05/22/2018

HOW TO GET A HOBBY WHEN YOU HAVE NO TIME

What are your hobbies?

Wait — what is that you say? You don’t have any free time? And you haven’t had a hobby since you were 10?

I had a feeling you were going to say that.

Here’s the thing: One of the best ways to guard against chronic stress and burnout over the long term is to have clearly delineated time devoted to activities you love.

I know, I know … It can feel next to impossible to find the time and space for this when you have a super crazy work schedule, young children, hectic weekends, etc.

But whenever you hear yourself saying “I don’t have time,” I want you to pause. Saying “I don’t have time” has likely become an automatic response for you — a way of protecting against MORE stress showing up your life.

I’m talking about adding something that is pure fun and relaxation. Not something you ‘should’ do. Not something your mom or your spouse or your coworker wants you to do.

So let’s see about how we can make this happen for you.

FULL POST>> https://stephaniedobbin.com/make-room-in-your-life-for-a-hobby/

What are your hobbies? Wait — what is that you say? You don’t have any free time? And you haven’t had a hobby since you were 10? I had a feeling you were going to say that. Here’s the thing: One of the best ways to guard against chronic stress and burnout over the long…

WHEN WHAT STRESSES YOU OUT IS BEYOND YOUR CONTROLI hear it a lot: Some of the most stressful stuff in your life is syste...
05/15/2018

WHEN WHAT STRESSES YOU OUT IS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL

I hear it a lot: Some of the most stressful stuff in your life is systemic, external to you, and unchangeable.

😩 It’s the cumbersome electronic medical record software you have to face down every day, with the excessive checkboxes and ever-growing number of mandatory fields.

😡 It’s productivity requirements and all the other bureaucratic BS that goes along with working in a big hospital system.

😧 It’s administrators who, at least on the outside, seem like they don’t know or don’t remember what it’s like to be on the front lines.

😵 It’s the ill-timed consult … the crushing call schedule … the colleague who overshares or underperforms.

Whenever we’re faced with stuff that’s seems immovable, it’s easy to feel trapped and hopeless. These conditions prime us for burnout and job dissatisfaction.

The good news: There ARE things you can do when what’s stressing you out is beyond your control.

FULL POST>>> https://stephaniedobbin.com/9-things-to-try-when-what-stresses-you-out-is-beyond-your-control

I hear it a lot: Some of the most stressful stuff in your life is systemic, external to you, and unchangeable. It’s the cumbersome electronic medical record software you have to face down every day, with the excessive checkboxes and ever-growing number of mandatory fields. It’s productivity requ...

04/24/2018

WHEN YOU HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT PARENTING

Ok, you got me. The truth is EVERYONE has mixed feelings about parenting pretty much all the time.

And when I say ‘mixed feelings,’ I’m not talking about 99% love and gratitude with a tiny bit of frustration mixed in. I’m talking about love, hate, euphoria, fury, despair, satisfaction, ALL OF IT.

This week I came across an Instagram post by P!nk, one of my favorite celebrities (who else is a huge P!nk fan?? Isn’t she just so real and relatable and so completely herself??! I love that she’s such a vocal advocate for women and underrepresented voices).

Her post was about a book she’s reading called THE AWAKENED FAMILY by Shefali Tsabary, PhD. There was a picture of the book cover, and then a paragraph with a few passages underlined.

I want to share the paragraph in its entirety because it’s so good:

"It was having a child that awakened me to the realization that my essential self had gotten lost in the process of growing up. And what a rude awakening it was! Although I had been practicing mindfulness for an entire decade before becoming a parent, I found myself ill-prepared for the onslaught of new triggers my child evoked in me. Just as a new exercise class makes you aware of muscles you were unaware of, so it is with the parenting journey. No matter how enlightened you think you are, having a child unravels you in ways you couldn’t have prepared for."

That last line pretty much sums it all up. I don’t know a single person -- friend, client or otherwise -- who hasn’t encountered some version of this phenomenon. We hear so much about the LOVE everyone feels for their babies, and it is indeed indescribable and intense and amazing.

And it’s also painful. Right beneath the love, in almost every moment, there’s fear (what if I lose them? How would I survive that?), guilt (why don’t I appreciate this more? Am I doing a good enough job?) and even sadness (how many more times will they do this particular cute thing?).

It can also be hard to remember who you are. I have many clients who feel extremely disoriented by the transition to parenthood. This can be particularly true for mothers, who do the physical heavy-lifting in terms of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding -- and even in 2018 tend to carry more of the burden of child care -- but it upends the life and identity of fathers, too.

And when you’ve spent decades in school, preparing to have a career and then finally GETTING that career underway, the shift away from all of that even temporarily can create anxiety and ambivalence and a lot of other uncomfortable feelings that for some reason we feel like we “shouldn’t have.” The way it changes our relationship with our spouse is also not always happy and joyful.

It is so hard to admit to the intensity of the negative emotions sometimes because we fear that others will perceive us as unloving or ungrateful. We don’t want to be complainers.

Let’s assume the love is there. Let’s not worry that in admitting negative or difficult emotions we will ‘be a negative person’ or risk appearing ungrateful. You can love your kids fiercely AND feel bored or resentful taking care of them sometimes -- or even a lot of the time. You can be so incredibly thankful for your babies AND long for the simplicity and peace of life before parenthood. It’s all possible. It’s all ok!

The more space we give ourselves to experience the full range, the less unnerved we will be when the harder emotions show up. And the more we acknowledge the harder emotions, the less they’ll rule us from the depths of our subconscious.

What has your experience with parenting been like? Do you let yourself feel even the most painful of emotions, or is it too scary to go there? Do you compare yourself to others? Let me know in the comments or by e-mail: hello AT stephaniedobbin DOT com.

16 North Goodman St.Suite 300
04/19/2018

16 North Goodman St.
Suite 300

At one point the interviewer asks Puddicombe, "When is the last time you felt burned out and why?" His answer is awesome...
04/19/2018

At one point the interviewer asks Puddicombe, "When is the last time you felt burned out and why?" His answer is awesome.

Burnout -- once you notice it -- offers you an opportunity to look at your life and get creative. 🌷

And you shouldn’t either.

A thousand times yes! 💜
04/17/2018

A thousand times yes! 💜

Self-care is not an indulgence. It's the ongoing practice of keeping ourselves physically and emotionally healthy.

04/17/2018

Today I'm talking about viewing self-care as a discipline, not an indulgence -- and how the best kind of self-care is nothing fancy.

A transition in your day can be a good opportunity to shift your mood & energy. Before your next patient, before you pac...
04/17/2018

A transition in your day can be a good opportunity to shift your mood & energy. Before your next patient, before you pack up and head home, before you get out of the car to go into your house...ask, “what do I want to take with me into my next endeavor, and what do I want to leave behind?” •
• P.S. Many thanks to and my designer vraione (aka Nassim Gader) for my beautiful new logo! 😍🙏

Waiting room looking ✨dreamy✨ for my group ladies this morning! Cinnamon hazelnut coffee’s on ☕️, peppermint & On Guard ...
02/26/2018

Waiting room looking ✨dreamy✨ for my group ladies this morning! Cinnamon hazelnut coffee’s on ☕️, peppermint & On Guard in the diffuser, and we are ready to roll! ☀️ Group will be open another week and there is one spot left if you’d like to join us 💜



Preparing for my DBT ladies! So excited to teach a bunch of absolutely life-changing relationship skills — from negotiat...
02/23/2018

Preparing for my DBT ladies! So excited to teach a bunch of absolutely life-changing relationship skills — from negotiating what you want, to saying ‘NO’ (it’s a complete sentence 🙂), to building healthier relationships and letting go of ones that are no longer serving you...we will be covering it ALL. We start Monday and one spot remains! It’s going to be a jam-packed 8 weeks 🤓



02/21/2018

Three spots remain in my women's DBT-informed skills group! We start Monday 2/26 and will meet from 9:30-10:30. We'll be tackling the interpersonal effectiveness module! Prepare to learn how to get more of what you want in your relationships, express yourself better, say NO without guilt, and more. If you know anyone who might be interested, let me know.

I’m at the United Way of Greater Rochester today talking about concrete ways to get through stressful moments and big-pi...
02/06/2018

I’m at the United Way of Greater Rochester today talking about concrete ways to get through stressful moments and big-picture strategies for reducing chronic stress. Thanks so much for inviting me!

BEYOND SLEEP HYGIENE: 5 WAYS TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEPSleep problems can cause a fair amount of frustration for heal...
01/31/2018

BEYOND SLEEP HYGIENE: 5 WAYS TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

Sleep problems can cause a fair amount of frustration for healthcare professionals. That’s because sleep hygiene is something that a lot of us -- especially those in primary care or mental health/psychiatry -- advise patients on every day. So if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep yourself, it can be hard to feel authentic in the suggestions you make to patients. You may find yourself having thoughts like “Does any of this really work?” or “I should really take my own advice.”

The truth is, sleep is critical to your ability to function. Without sleep, you’re way more likely to be irritable, short on patience, and low on empathy. This might show up as yelling at your kids, lashing out at your spouse, or making snide comments about difficult patients. Being in so-called “sleep debt” also makes it harder to think clearly and make quick, efficient decisions. You’re at greater risk of making careless medical errors or even getting into a car accident, depending on how badly deprived you are.

You probably know all this on an intellectual level, but so many of us downplay the importance of sleep in our own lives.

There are a few common reasons why physicians, nurses and other helping professionals get inadequate sleep:

🔹 Home life factors: new baby, disruptive pet, child illness or a child’s chronic sleep problems

🔸 Environmental factors: bedroom is too hot/too cold (or too light if you work nights and sleep during the day)

⚪ Mental health factors: chronic anxiety or depression, or attentional/perfectionism issues that cause you to stay up too late

🔹 Lifestyle factors: poor diet, overconsumption of alcohol, stimulating screen time before bed, insufficient exercise

🔸 Situational factors: worries about finances, loan debt, aging parents, the threat of a lawsuit, being behind at work, your child’s well being

⚪ Job factors: shift work, unpredictable or inconsistent schedules, too many demands on time

The culture of health care in some ways perpetuates sleep deprivation. Even with new restrictions in place, many medical residents don’t get enough sleep due to the crushing demands of documentation and other responsibilities. Some of this “I can get by” mentality can end up spilling into the rest of your career. And I hear from a lot of nurses who struggle with the way their employer requires alternating day and night shifts; this can make getting good-quality sleep really difficult.

You know basic sleep hygiene. It’s boilerplate. Here’s what to do if you’re still stuck.

1. Go through the list of factors above and jot down anything that seems like it’s relevant to your current situation.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF! You don’t need to commit to changing any of it just yet.

2. Does anything stand out as relatively easy to change?
e.g. If you consistently go to bed too late because you lose track of time, try setting a recurring bedtime alarm on your phone or watch and stick to it for a week. If you are always waking up in a sweat, turn down the thermostat or dress in lighter clothing. These sorts of things may sound obvious, but sometimes we don’t acknowledge the easy tweaks we can do to make sleep come more easily.

3. Implement a bedtime ritual.
Make a commitment to set your phone aside an hour before bed, and use this time to read, take a shower, meditate, listen to music, or otherwise wind down. If you find yourself shooting this idea down because you’re too busy, then start with a 10 minute ritual. The ritual is not only meant to help relax you, but to cue your brain that it’s time to fall asleep. It’s a cognitive-behavioral strategy.

4. Free write for 5 minutes.
This is especially helpful if you struggle with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime. Jot down anything and everything that’s on your mind: to-do’s, worries, problems. Tell yourself that you will revisit the list in the morning, but at this point you’ve done all you can for today. Fold up the paper and put it in a safe spot.

5. Choose one of the more complicated interfering factors and begin brainstorming solutions (but not at bedtime).
Maybe it’s your alcohol use or your diet… maybe it’s chronic worries about your job or undertreated depression… whatever the “big” or seemingly impossible problem may be, there may be ideas or solutions that you haven’t tried. And if you’re resisting change, it might be worth seeing a therapist to talk through what’s getting in your way.

This isn’t to say that basic sleep hygiene isn’t useful. It never hurts to take a look at the timing and quantity of caffeine consumption. And one of my favorite sleep hygiene suggestions is getting out of bed if you’re having trouble falling asleep. If you are lying in bed getting frantic about how many hours are left in the night, it won’t help to keep lying there for two hours, staring at the clock. You’re better off getting up, putting on some lotion and reading a calming book until you start feeling sleepy again, and then returning to bed.

What works for you? What doesn’t seem to help?

If you think now's the time to get a little more help with this, head on over to https://stephaniedobbin.com to get a sense of what it would be like to work together!

Let's talk about self-care for a sec. True self care.Before you groan or roll your eyes, hear me out. The term "self-car...
01/23/2018

Let's talk about self-care for a sec. True self care.

Before you groan or roll your eyes, hear me out. The term "self-care" has gotten a frivolous reputation in some circles as fluffy, optional, escapist -- a way that millennials avoid "adulting" (ugh, that WORD, can we ban it please??). But that is just not how I see it.

True self-care does not come from a place of indulgence, but from a place of love and compassion. It's essential.

Self-care is not the same as spoiling yourself or treating yourself.

+ It's about saying "no" to self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

+ It's about recognizing that as humans we ALL have needs and desires. No one is exempt, including you.

+ It's about tending to your particular needs and desires -- for healthy and delicious food, enjoyable movement/exercise, intellectual and creative stimulation, spiritual growth, relaxation, and loving relationships.

+ It's about recognizing that if you can identify and honor your own needs and desires, you will have more space and empathy for the needs and desires of others.

I actually see self-care as a responsibility we have to ourselves, especially as helping professionals. We often neglect our own needs and try to put the needs of our patients and families ahead of our own, leaving ourselves depleted, stressed, and even resentful.

True self-care is complex in the sense that first, you have to know WHAT IT IS YOU WANT.

Yes, this involves tuning into yourself and figuring what it is you're not getting. Maybe what you want seems impossible or ridiculous or stupid to you, but that's OK. Ignore that judgey voice. Give yourself permission to acknowledge whatever it is that you want. (Hint: It's OK to want something for no reason at all! There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting. You may not choose to act on this desire, but don't shut it down before you even get the chance to experience it.)

Then, once you are clear on what you want...a healthier body, more alone time, more patience, dedicated time for lunch, a new friend, a happier marriage, a vacation...you can start investigating what's interfering with your ability to make this a priority.

There may be an emotional block somewhere, e.g. guilt about carving out time to go to the gym, self-worth issues, lack of confidence. Or a faulty belief: "I don't have time," "I'm too busy," "It's not that important."

Believe it or not, GROUP is a fantastic way to explore some of this stuff: What we want, why we do what we do at work and in our relationships, why it's so hard to assert ourselves or advocate for what we want in an effective way, how we can show up differently in our lives. If you've been thinking about joining one of my groups, send me a message here on FB or fill out an interest form for the co-ed therapist group (https://www.subscribepage.com/clinicianprocessgroup) or the general co-ed process group (https://www.subscribepage.com/grouptherapyinterest) so we can explore next steps.

*** If you are struggling to come up with a desire or a goal to guide your self-care, don’t overthink it. Try adding a small, concrete practice to your routine and test it out. I always suggest meditation to people because I've seen how freeing and empowering it can be. I recently started meditated with the Headspace app and LOVE it. It combines meditation with brief snippets of education and inspiration. It has helped me cement my meditation into a habit that I look forward to every single day.

A POST I WISH I DIDN'T HAVE TO WRITE This piece (found here: http://pxlme.me/bwvv6z9k) is weighing so heavily on me toda...
01/22/2018

A POST I WISH I DIDN'T HAVE TO WRITE

This piece (found here: http://pxlme.me/bwvv6z9k) is weighing so heavily on me today.

It’s called “What I’ve learned from my tally of 757 doctor su***des” and it ran in The Washington Post on 1/13. A colleague of mine sent it to me last night. (This issue has actually been on my mind for the past few months -- ever since I myself heard about a local doctor su***de and the circumstances surrounding it.)

The author of the piece was inspired to dig into the issue of doctor su***des about five years ago, when she attended a memorial service for a doctor who had died by su***de -- the third doctor su***de in 18 months in her local community.

Since then, she has been on a crusade to understand this phenomenon better. Distressed medical students and doctors at all phases of practice began to contact her to share their experiences of stress, exhaustion, shame and guilt in the wake of errors, and a culture that often prizes “gutting it out” and being strong and stoic.

As it turns out, first-year medical students start out at LOWER risk of su***de than the general population, but this risk spikes during medical school and residency, and never returns to the lower baseline (Privitera et al 2017). There’s some variation in risk depending on specialization, but the fact that doctors are at greater risk for su***de is something most people don’t want to talk about.

From the article:

+ One million Americans lose their doctor to su***de each year.
+ Male anesthesiologists are at greatest risk.
+ Doctors who kill themselves often appear “happy” and well-adjusted on the outside.
+ Malpractice suits can be absolutely devastating and can set some physicians on the path to su***de.
+ “Assembly line” working conditions that focus on productivity and force physicians to see very complex patients in short slots can create a pressure-cooker situation, pushing some doctors to their limit.
+ Many doctors fear that their mental health treatment will not remain confidential, preventing them from accessing needed support.

Does any of this resonate, even a little bit? You may not be able to imagine getting to the point of taking your own life, but it’s so important to see the signs of chronic stress, overwork, posttraumatic stress and depression long before it reaches that point.

Read on for 5 ways to tell if you, someone you love, or a colleague may need more support: http://pxlme.me/2gLl6y5A.

There are some fixable explanations for the high rate for physicians and medical students.

ARE YOU BURNING OUT?It might sound strange that you could be hurtling toward burnout and not know it, but it happens all...
01/15/2018

ARE YOU BURNING OUT?

It might sound strange that you could be hurtling toward burnout and not know it, but it happens all the time.

Burnout is a bit of a tricky phenomenon. You might be so conditioned to stress that you don't realize you're at your limit until you’re already over the edge, ready to give up on your career or run away from home (I’m only partly kidding here).

This is because a lot of us are really good at ignoring early signs of overwork and chronic stress. We set aside our own needs as unnecessary or unrealistic, or incorrectly attribute how we’re feeling to some other issue (“I’m sick again...must be the kids bringing home a ton of germs,” or “I can’t stand that patient -- so entitled and demanding.”)

The truth is, you may actually be getting sick a lot because you are carrying around an unhealthy amount of emotional stress and your immune system is compromised. You may be ready to fire your patient because your fuse is short and your empathy supply is running dangerously low, both warning signs of burnout.

Burnout is characterized by three main criteria (thanks to UR’s Dr. Michael Privitera for breaking it down so well in his July 2017 article “Physician Burnout as an Individual and Public Health Issue”).

The examples are written in terms of what physicians or other health care professionals might encounter, but the basic criteria are the same regardless of your profession -- and can even show up in the context of home if family life is what’s burning you out:

🔹 Emotional exhaustion: procrastination of important patient/client interactions (i.e. returning phone calls), self-isolation, irritability, low mood, “short fuse.” The people in your life, including patients, family members and/or friends, are beginning to notice a change in you and might even comment on it.

🔹 Depersonalization/callousness: distancing from patients during appointments, decreased listening & compassion, more cynicism and sarcasm when discussing patients/clients (i.e. when staffing a case or consulting with another provider)

🔹 Decreased efficacy: low confidence, worries about ability to perform work tasks, perceived poor decision-making (which in time will become *actual* poor decision-making), decreased ability to engage in the thinking and problem-solving necessary to the job -- e.g. sorting through the facts of a case, making accurate diagnoses, considering all possible differential diagnoses, and making a sound care plan.

It snowballs. At first you’re tired, physically unwell, increasingly unpleasant to be around. You start to lose perspective and so-called difficult patients become harder and harder to tolerate -- you just don’t have the bandwidth. You start to question your abilities and as symptoms get worse, your cognitive functioning deteriorates. You’re so overloaded, your brain lapses into “habit memory,” and does a less effective job at synthesizing facts and information. You’re more prone to mistakes, sometimes very costly ones.

Burnout is treatable. Click through for three things you can do today to start shifting out of burnout and into a more energetic and empowered space: http://pxlme.me/jMU39kyF

5 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE 'SAD' AND 3 THINGS YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:Let's talk about seasonal affective disorder -- also known a...
01/08/2018

5 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE 'SAD' AND 3 THINGS YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Let's talk about seasonal affective disorder -- also known as SAD.

Let me start by saying that it’s totally possible to know the textbook symptoms of depression and not be able to recognize them in yourself. I find that a lot of my clients in the healthcare field in particular have a way of overlooking their own needs and struggles. And sometimes, if you have a milder case of SAD or any form of depression, the symptoms can be subtle.

Between the crushing tundra temperatures we’ve been having here in Rochester and the post-holiday slump many of us experience, now is as good a time as any to review some telltale signs of winter-onset SAD:

😰 Getting up in the morning is a huge struggle.
I mean, huge. Like you’re pressing snooze multiple times, your body feels heavy or achy, the idea of showering seems insurmountable...this goes beyond the usual few minutes it takes for any brain to wake up.

😰 You have strong food cravings, especially for high-carb foods.
Pasta, potatoes, bread, baked goods. Name a refined carb: you’re dreaming about it. Or resisting it at every turn. You may even find yourself gaining weight due to overeating or inactivity.

😰 You feel lethargic throughout the day, even if you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep.
This could be because your sleep isn’t as restful as it could be. One theory around SAD is that winter’s decrease in sunlight disrupts the circadian rhythm for some people.

😰 Stuff that usually interests you has lost its luster.
Whatever you usually love -- college basketball, knitting, baking, yoga -- it feels...flat. Like you’ve been there, done that. Except there’s nothing else you want to do instead. You might feel bored or uninspired or just “blah.”

😰 You’re constantly fighting the urge to hibernate/withdraw from others.
It’s one thing to be an introvert, but it’s another thing when you find yourself making up excuses to avoid any and all social contact, even with people you usually enjoy being around.

If you’ve noticed any of the above, you may want to reach out to your P*P and touch base, especially if you have other symptoms of depression (feeling like a failure, low mood on more days than not for two weeks or more, increased irritability, thoughts of death or su***de).

If your symptoms are mild, you might try a few things on your own to see if you can break out of the cycle -- click through to the full blog post for some ideas: http://pxlme.me/2gLl6y5A.

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16 North Goodman Street, Suite 300
Rochester, NY
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