Insight Mind Body Talk

S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

March 05, 2023 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 2 Episode 11
S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Insight Mind Body Talk
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Insight Mind Body Talk
S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Mar 05, 2023 Season 2 Episode 11
Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that corresponds with the seasons. For most, SAD starts during the winter months and affects many people differently and at different levels. 

Listen and learn more about what causes this prevalent disorder and how you can use mind/body strategies to cope.

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz

Insight Mind Body Talk. Also, check out our e-courses!

Show Notes Transcript

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that corresponds with the seasons. For most, SAD starts during the winter months and affects many people differently and at different levels. 

Listen and learn more about what causes this prevalent disorder and how you can use mind/body strategies to cope.

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz

Insight Mind Body Talk. Also, check out our e-courses!

Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk. My name is Jess. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, trauma informed fitness professional, and your host. And today I'm joined by Jeff Peterson, licensed clinical social worker and mental health therapist at Insight Counseling and Wellness. Hi Jeff.

How are. Hi, Jess. I'm doing all right. It's good to be here. Yeah, I'm glad. I'm glad you are. And today's topic, we are exploring seasonal effective disorder, um, often referred to as sad s a d. You'll see it in that regard as well, in print and, and when people talk about it. But we're gonna talk, you know, right now, this episode's airing in March, which is kind of like the end ish of winter, but I don't even wanna say that, right?

Because in Wisconsin, Oh, winter just is like this never ending torture device that you think it's almost done. Here's March. Maybe there's some spring, and yet it comes back and it gets you a couple more times. Maybe even in the end of March and April actually. So, so today we're talking about, you know, this form of depression, what it actually is.

What are the causes, you know, things like how long does it typically last? Really, what are some of the best ways to manage it? Both mind and body? Yeah. Well for our listeners, Jeff, then let's get exactly like what is, what is seasonal effective disorder. Well, we, to start this, we, we did some research to really see what is out there, um, what's being said about, uh, seasonal effective disorder from outside our clinic.

Cuz we see this a lot and mm-hmm. . as far as, um, how it's defined, the National Institute of Mental Health talks about, um, seasonal effective disorder as a cluster of symptoms that ki mostly depressive, that start but are not limited to the winter months. And. To have the full classification of this disorder, it has to occur for at least two consecutive years, and that doesn't mean that people don't experience s a D type symptoms.

It just maybe means that doesn't qualify. as the disorder per se. So without necessarily getting too, um, into the labels, we're gonna talk a lot today about just what this sounds like or what these symptoms are like and what we can do about them, regardless of if it is a, is um, fits the criteria for a label diagnosis.

And so some of the other things that, that. That pertain to this and are wrapped up in this cluster of symptoms is the near constant feeling, uh, of depression, sadness, loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy. Um, depressive symptoms are almost, are always, um, looked at as a kind of a change in appetite, change in sleep, change in levels of energy and just.

Other forms of depression. S a d has those, um, markers as well. Another thing that's really interesting is that it doesn't necessarily have to happen in the winter. I know, I know. I, I didn't realize that either. I just thought like, this is a winter thing when I was researching it. Right, and, and, um, I, I don't know that I necessarily have seen folks present with it outside of winter, however, it, it certainly is possible.

So as clinicians, I think it's a cue for us just to really pay attention to the potential for, for symptoms like this to present in different times of the. . Mm-hmm. , you know, I wonder if, for example, you know, in southern warmer climates that maybe it's more common to also experience seasonal shifts in the spring or summer, the way that maybe we don't up north, right.

When it's such a drastic change, we're kind of just happy to get anything, right. We're, we're happy for those 50 degrees, but maybe when the average is 50 to 70 or 80, or perhaps. Gosh, maybe in Arizona when it reaches like 90 to a hundred in the summer, it can cause some, you know, symptoms of feeling overwhelmed, sluggish.

You just wanna stay indoors because of how drastic the temperature changes is. So, I mean, it's interesting to think about like, you know, what maybe factors influence, you know? Yeah. Sad as you were saying that. I thought. Yeah, I bet. Um, there's some isolation to severe heat as well as, yeah. The cold, um, not wanting to leave your house, but also folks with health conditions similar again to the cold.

Not wanting to expose themselves to extreme temperatures, whether we're talking highs or lows. And that can create, um, you know, impact on mood and, um, and, and our functioning based on some of those limitations. So on average, three to 6 million Americans experience seasonal effective disorder. And you know the chair of the psychology department at Madison College, actually in 2015, Carol Fortner said that 10% of people in Wisconsin experience seasonal effective disorders.

You're not alone. If this is something that shows up in your life and that, you know, maybe leads to some dread as the fall begins and, and you're trying to figure out like, if this is going to be reoccurring, how can I best, you know, take on some strategies to manage that? Cuz you know, 10%, that's, that's a, that's a big, big number.

Yeah, and what we know too is it's, that's reported mm-hmm. , so it's likely even higher than that as well. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . We also know that it's four times more common in women than men. I mean, I could really kind of go on a diatribe about like, why I think that might be, but I'm just gonna like put that out there.

And you know, biologically we're learning that, you know, it increases in frequency and severity the further you get away from the equator, right? So, That's because you get a, a pretty good amount of the vitamin D that we need to have, you know, um, improved mood to feel regulated. You get that through the sun, and so the light stimulates your body's natural production of vitamin D and then that turn supports your metabolism, strengthens your bones, you know, does all these really wonderful things for our entire system.

But many of us are now working. inside and or, or in school or we're home for most of the day, especially after the pandemic and you know, during, you know, our more northerly latitude winter, the days are shorter and the sun's angle and the sky stays lower. So that really does mean that we miss out on a lot of the benefit.

of sunlight. And you know, to think about it, this is a fact that I often tell when I'm working with someone holistically on possibly treating just any symptom of depression or, or thinking holistically about their mental health. That in the Midwest, in like our area of the country, there's only three out of 12 months that we get enough sun to even.

The vitamin D that we're having. So I mean, oh, can you imagine a three? Hmm, that's, that's far fewer than I would've expected even, um, having known quite a bit about this. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, it's also, we're gonna talk about some tools, you know, to support it, like a happy lamp or, or taking Vitamin D, but it's important to know that that vitamin doesn't just metabolize on its own.

We can't just. Increase our dose to like 10,000 IU of vitamin D for nine months and stay inside like the sun is actually what helps the meta, like our bodies metabolize that vitamin. So for example, people with darker skin who have more melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen, they may have to spend even more time in the sun than people with lighter skin in order for their bodies to be able to produce the same amount of vitamin.

And if you're curious, like, well, when the heck just do I go outside? They're actually, it's, it's, it's dedicated like 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM is the best times for sunlight driven vitamin D production. So make a note, try and get outside, you know, mid-morning, lunchtime, early afternoon. Mm-hmm. , good habit to get in, um, in general to do some movement in your day.

And also grab some, uh, extra vitamin D um, in that process. Definitely. Well, okay, Jeff, how often do you feel like you see in, you know, in your caseload, people coming through your office, uh, see seasonal effective disorder? How often would you say it's occurring? Well, as you, as we were talked at the beginning, you know, we're right in the heart of the time when this, um, presentation would be more common.

Uh, so it comes up pretty frequently. Not necessarily people saying, oh, I think I have this, but more in them reporting to me that I've noticed these types of things. Yeah. And it, it really is oftentimes congruent with seasonal effective disorder or types of symptoms. that we would say lend them themselves to seasonal effective disorder.

And, um, this is kind of the window of time, like I said, that we would, um, we would see this and it's kind of like a post holiday mm-hmm. early, um, early New Year type thing. Um, I think a lot of factors there, you know, for. For a lot of people, the holidays keep us busy. Whether or not they're necessarily things that, um, are enjoyable or not, they all come with their, their own things, stressors and and such.

Um, but it certainly, they do keep us busy. And then, so kind of after the new year, there tends to be a bit of a, um, a lull in activity and things going on again, particularly in our more northern climate. And so this is, this is when, um, people are presenting with this and, and, you know, now that we're talking about it, speaking of, um, interventions and things they can do, um, we talk about those, um, uh, Exercise and vitamin D and sad lamps and really just the dressing, the, that this is happening instead of holding it and keeping it to ourselves.

Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, we'll talk about it, you know, at the end, but we can talk about it now too, that the, you know, sometimes we hide things because of the shame or that it's difficult. And, you know, we, we don't really know like why this even happens, right? Like, and, and I think that that's always hard for, for people is we want to know the why.

Like, why am I experiencing this? And I, I think, you know, the ambiguity can be really hard, but you know, , we don't really know. And so to talk about it can really reduce that shame, you know, still to talk about it though, and to identify it's happening. Um, I just saw this meme about A D H D, so this is pertaining to A D H D, but I think it's pretty relevant for a lot of, um, uh, like any mental health disorder that the meme was like living with undiagnosed A D H D is like playing a video game in like the hardest mode, right?

And yet everyone else telling you, what's your problem? It's, it's uneasy. It's uneasy. Like I don't why, like why do you keep dying? It's, it's like on the easiest. And so, you know, knowing you have a mental health condition or knowing you're experiencing seasonal effective disorder doesn't change that. The mode is on difficult, but it gives you information on how to strategize and it also honors your experience of it being in difficult mode so that people stop telling you like, what's your problem?

This should be easy. Hmm. Uh, you know, same thing with this. The more we talk about it, the more we figure out tools, the more we just honor that it's happening and it happens to a lot of people. Uh, the more shame we can reduce around it. Yeah. There's a lot of acceptance in what I heard you say of, um, these things are happening at this time and whatever we label it, Can be up to the individual of what is helpful.

Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Some folks don't like the label. Others feel it's really helpful to have it, um, quantified and qualified in that way. And I talk a lot to the folks I meet with of the why's get us. Back into this circle of worry or rumination. Or stuckness. Mm-hmm. the questions of how is the question we ask a lot.

Okay. We know I ask a lot to, to clients. Okay. We know this is happening. How do we live our best lives? with this. Mm-hmm. knowledge. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Um, cuz it the other way pertains to, okay, if there's a why, then we can fix it and it'll go away. Yeah. But that may not actually be the, the logic or the train or the direction we want to spend our time and energy.

Mm-hmm. , but this happens there. S a d symptoms and could respond to s a D type treatments. Mm-hmm. , even if it's. You 100% have this. Yeah. So, you know exactly. And right now the leading theory they say is that there's, there's a shift in the biological clock. Um, you know, normally the body produces melatonin at night.

We all know that. I mean, for most people, um, Those who are neurodivergent, actually more research shows that melatonin's not created at, you know, the nine, 10 o'clock time. It's much more, you know, it's produced by the brain later, um, into the night. But, so we have melatonin at night, helps promote sleep, and then, you know, the melatonin supposed to taper off as sunrise approaches helps you wake up.

But if you have winter, you know, Seasonal effective disorder, the melatonin peaks later and then lingers longer in the morning. So it does make it harder to wake up. It makes you feel fatigued and groggy. And then since you don't reach that peak wakefulness until later in the day, it's, it's harder to fall asleep in the evening again.

And it just sometimes can really perpetuate this cycle of insomnia, inadequate sleep fatigue, and we all know that that will definitely make, you know, any depressive symptom worse. So, Really what we're thinking about are like, you know, this is what I think about at least, like what are we still doing with daylight savings time?

Why does it exist? Mm-hmm. , we have electricity. Farmers don't need the sunlight anymore. Like, can we please get rid of it? But that again, I don't know. What do you think? Do you give a hoot about daylight savings or what are your thoughts on it? Oh, I, I, I really, I struggle with it. Um, I struggle with the, that time, let's see, what's the thing?

Fall back, um, when. You know, in that time of the year, it's really difficult to, to shift from getting light around or getting dark around seven or seven 30 even to, to, oh yeah, to much, much earlier At this time, you know, we're going the other direction, um, towards light, uh, lighter later. Um, but that hour changed.

It's. It's not good for us in, in no, in any way really. And so I, I support the campaign to, to do away with it. . Oh yeah. I don't know. So I mean, I think it kinda lines up with like some of the evidence. You know, that says that we like even the anticipation of those shorter days, you know, like saying to ourselves, you know, which we'll get into later too, maybe how to challenge these thoughts.

But it doesn't help when suddenly it was daylight out at seven and now it's 4:50 PM You know, like the idea is I don't function well in the winter, or I'm gonna start feeling worse soon, you know? That, that really does like lend into like this process, at least for my clients when I work with, you know, come follow, we have to do a lot of like, challenging those thoughts and like cognitive restructuring on, you know, the cognitive distortion of predicting the future.

Um, being able to like forecast what's gonna happen because there is so much, you know, evidence to support that you're gonna feel worse soon. And yet we don't quite know that that's true. Or maybe we have other skills we didn't have last year, or, you know, I've had other people say, actually it wasn't as bad this year, but I was so worried about it.

Yeah. So, you know, it's, it can be tough. It can be tough. And I have fo someone's, at least one person said to me this year, I really like fall deep down, but on the surface I'm anxious because I know winter's coming. Yeah. And so we lose in that scenario, we lose the, um, the enjoyment or the, the mindful presence of fall for what it is.

Sure. Because of that impending doom. And then, you know, that forecasting makes it more likely we're gonna feel this way if we expect. Yeah, I mean most of the symptoms do start in October and November, right? And so, you know, thinking about that, how maybe there's an opportunity to make it last longer. Cuz you know, for most it lasts around five months, which again, , these, these numbers are pretty, pretty strong in that three months only that you get the vitamin D.

It lasts for five months. You know, that's half someone's year, that can be half someone's life. So anything we can do to maybe shorten that timeframe and, and, and, you know, kind of decrease the length, you know. I think it's important. Yeah, absolutely. And, and you know, the flip side ends up being kind of true as we're transitioning out of winter into spring.

This may be when someone with summer seasonal effective disorder would start to feel, um, triggered or start to notice some symptoms. Uh, it would be right around, I think that other time change, um, of springing. Forward and, uh, some of those symptoms will be very much the same, and that is a, a really good case to be made for what we talk about a lot too, Jess, on a smaller level, is transition time.

Yeah, we talk so much about transitioning our roles from wor, from work to, to home, to parent to partner, um, and giving ourselves grace and buffer zones and de-stressing time and, and that can be really very true in this is the same. Prac, you can apply this type of practice to the transition of seasons.

Approaching it with how do I want to ease my way into this? Um, versus, oh no. Yeah. Well, and you've kind of, you're starting to bring us there, so let's talk about it. Let's talk about like how we would treat, you know, seasonal effective disorder, both like in the office, but also for listeners, just some strategies they can, like, take with them right now.

Mm-hmm. . So I'll, I'll let you go first. Like, what are your clinical approaches for. And these kind of are the same that I use with a lot of different things is either A D B T or an ACT perspective and what each of these. Modalities do is really, can you explain what D B T is in a c t is? Sure. Dialectical behavioral therapy is dbt, D and a C T or ACT as acceptance and commitment therapy.

And so they both really start and honor the acceptance part of things. Mm-hmm. . And so if we're applying that here, we know the seasons are going to change. Mm-hmm. . And, and we even probably have an understanding or a feeling, um, of knowing ourselves. It says, yeah, this is, this is harder for me than other times of year.

Yeah. And the, the difference between this, oh no. Doman gloom, here it comes. And acceptance is, acceptance isn't evaluative or judgemental. It is. The seasons are changing and these things tend to happen for me without Yeah. You know, without placing judgment or, uh, values on them. And so really coming from the perspective of, oh, this is, this is kind of cool.

I know. The seasons are changing. Do I want them to, Hmm, maybe not. And whether I want them to or not, it's happening. So what can I do? And this is that commitment in at AC two. What can I do not to make sure it never happens? But to mitigate this, to, to address some of those things. And maybe it's, you know, and, and that approach will, will hold both things.

So if this is happening and there is something I can do about it versus that potential feeling of maybe powerlessness, which will, may, will then has a tendency to exacerbate the symptoms or give you another thing to deal with of, oh shoot. I, I can't do anything about this. And then we start to, Or helpless.

Yeah. Oh yeah. You know, control is so important to us as humans, right? Even mm-hmm. . I mean, it's a fallacy that we have control, but I mean, we do have control over some things and, and I think when you're experiencing a mental health disorder especially, it's so important to identify what you can commit to working on and where you do have control.

Because a lot of it is out of our, and feels out of our control, and that's really scary. . Um, . You know, for me it's, it's that, you're right, it's, I I love to use like acceptance and commitment therapy too, because I think there's a lens of mindfulness there where we bring, you know, the present moment experience and can kind of keep us here in the present moment and not let us ruminate as much on the past.

And it can, you know that mind. You know, anyone's brain wants to predict the future. It wants to know what's gonna happen, and yet that's not always helpful, is what you're saying. And so what can we do to kind of find that middle ground? And, and you can't do that without mindfulness. You can't do that without the observing mind.

You know, that observing mind, who kind of watches and, um, you can kinda step back like, oh, here's a thought, you know about. You know, winter coming, I am having a thought that I'm scared about winter. Like, can we, can we un blend instead of I'm scared or I'm anxious about winter? Here's a thought about being anxious about winter.

Okay. That's there. And then can I like let that go? And here's another thought, you know, and so kind of practicing that present moment, but I'm okay right now, like you said earlier, not missing out. I am safe right now. That is a thought about concern. And when we can look at our thoughts objectively and kind of through an observer mind that helps us decide, oh, this is a rational thought.

I, I have a right to be concerned about winter cuz typically my mood shifts, what do I wanna do about it? But it also helps us go and notice those illogical thoughts, right? Like I always. Experience. You know, the worst. It's the worst. I, I can't get through it. You know? It helps us understand. I'm sure you see it with your clients too, and I do this with myself too.

Like, again, human beings here. Mm-hmm. can get really caught up in the thoughts that are illogical or that will never happen in trying to prepare for all versus being present in that moment. Agreed. Yeah. And, and finding you mentioned control and, and finding, uh, and placing our control in the area that is most helpful is so important.

Mm-hmm. Some, you know, the idea, of course, we can't control the seasons and therefore, you know, trying to would be a waste of our energy. Yeah. But what wouldn't be the waste of the energy would be saying and how I'm going to. Uh, use my agency to address the fact. That winter has these components to it and it makes me feel or make it, makes it more likely that I'm going to feel a certain way and, and I can address that or mitigate it, not rid ourselves of it necessarily.

Mm-hmm. , because winter just may not be your favorite season and that's okay. Mm-hmm. , definitely. And if we think about it from a somatic or body perspective, there are things we can do. We can, you know, of course I always recommend somebody consults with their primary care physician, but supplementation, maybe some fish oil, that vitamin D, some magnesium, you know, things that, you know, multivitamin, make sure.

We're eating as many colors as we can during these darker months, uh, to make sure we're getting that nourishment so, If we're already kind of working against, you know, those symptoms of depression, are we getting enough nutrition to our brain? If we don't get enough nutrition to our prefrontal cortex, we can't access those coping strategies.

Right. Movement, you know, movement. We all know it, but, and , we all know, but I'll say it again, that it releases endorphins, hormones that reduce. Increased feelings of wellbeing, increases our metabolism, helps us improve our energy levels. And you know, the fatigue, you know, when people, I've seen a lot over the years, um, kind of doing the trauma-informed movement and I, I.

I fully give everyone permission to only move when they know it's the right choice for them at that time, because it can also shift you into, you know, a harder place or you don't have access to movement, feeling good if you're in a depressive episode or you already have a lot of fatigue. But we wanna think about like, is the stress of exercise the right kind of fatigue?

Is it the right kind of stress? The fatigue of well used muscles may feel better than the fatigue of tension in your body from sitting all day, you know, and just something to experiment with because your sleep may improve. It can help reduce anxiety, treat depression. You know, but taking ex exercise and nutrition and, you know, kind of the, the holistic aspect out.

I don't, you know, you've, you've been talking about it too, but we really gotta name co-regulation, right? Connection. Yes. You know, connection is the antithesis in a lot of ways to depression, I believe anyway, because it is such an isolating experience and depression lies to us and tells us that we don't.

That we are unlovable, that we can't make it through, and connection tells us we are lovable. We can make it through. It regulates our nervous system. , when your nervous system is under threat and feeling hopeless and it is shut down, the story we tell ourselves follows our autonomic state. We know this now.

So if you're in a shutdown from seasonal effective disorder, your thoughts will follow that. So if you can use connection to kind of pull even a little bit, get that nervous system regulated, the story will change too. It will change too. This is hard, but I can do it. Or today I'm alone. But I know that, you know, in general, I'm not alone.

Even if I feel alone today. Yeah, that's the, that's a big part of that. And I have this thing going on that makes certain aspects of my life at this time harder. How do I make it easier or less impactful? And I love the, the co-regulation and social connection piece that is so important. And sometimes it's, um, We, we at Insight even have things to help with that too, whether they're, um, yoga classes or meeting in person with your therapist.

Like, yes, that can even make a big, um, difference between meeting in person or meeting on a screen. Of course, having the screen is super helpful and can really provide access at, uh, different times and to, to be able to sit with somebody, um, is, is really important. Um, or sit with multiple people in a, in a space that is supportive and enjoyable for, for you.

I agree. I agree. You know, we were coming out of the pandemic and we learned a lot about. how important it is to connect. And so if you can, yeah, get out there and get, you know, Deb Dana even talks about how you can walk down the street and make maybe if you feel comfortable, eye contact with one person, and that does increase your sense of connection to the world.

Or you can sit in a coffee shop or when you're walking around the grocery. Just noticing other people and maybe giving an, excuse me, or a small smile, if, if that feels comfortable. Those are all the things that make us feel connected and you know, having a sense of meaning, right? Because meaning is, is really important to humans.

We are social creatures who make a lot of meaning out of our relationships. Yeah, I actually went and did something this weekend that I thought was a great use of that, um, with my kids. It was, uh, we went to the library, um, you know, and, and this is something that people can do that doesn't cost money. Um, Sure.

Sitting in a coffee shop could be really nice. And if, if folks aren't, um, like coffee or want, or able yeah, wanting to spend the money, we could go and you could go and, and sit at the library. Even reading or being in the presence of other folks is, um, you will get that, um, connection through proximity, uh mm-hmm.

as well, which I, I think is wonder. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah, I totally agree. And lastly, for co-regulation, we cannot forget our furry family members. Right. I, I encourage if you have the resources, including the space or the financial ability to have, you know, to be a caregiver of, of. , you know, and I guess I shouldn't even say furry because some of our animal family members are not furry as well.

Um, that, that to consider doing that as well because there is such power in the regulation we experience through animals as well. Right. Yeah. And I know a lot of clients talk about how animals and their life are really what helps them get through these tougher. Yep. It's such supportive, unconditional love, uh, that requires very little more than just our presence and mm-hmm.

it's, it's a wonderful tip. Mm-hmm. . So I'm gonna round, or I'm gonna finish up by talking about self-compassion. Okay. You know, I, I, I brought it up earlier. It's, it, it really does help fight shame. You know, the, the. Shame itself is an emotion that often a accompanies depression. Uh, and it it tells us that we're bad.

That we're broken, that we're unlovable, and when we're depressed, many of us just tend to unconsciously kind of kick ourselves already while we're down. You know, beating ourselves up about that we're depressed or that we have, you know, perceived failures. You know, I couldn't get the dishes done today, or I wasn't able to leave my house, or I don't have the energy to make plans with friends.

You know, we're already experienced. Suffering. And you know, there's the metaphor of the second arrow of how if we're already experiencing pain, you know, we sometimes can shoot ourselves with another arrow of judgment and criticalness or that shame even can do that to us. And, and we end up abandoning ourselves a little bit in the process.

Which is not our fault. But if, if we look again and step and unblend from that shame and say, well, that is a really normal human experience, but this is just an emotion and I can be compassionate with myself, right? I can have compassion for how hard this is. That's all it is, is greeting and meeting yourself with warmth like this is difficult.

And we really need our own support during these months. And I think if there's one tool out there that, you know, I could just like in the Matrix program into people like, Nope, you got this tool, it would be to, you know, be able to offer ourselves compassion on a continual basis. Yes, I will second that. Uh, and I really appreciate the, the second arrow, um, analogy.

And I think that is very strong. And, and with winter being as long as it is, there is a lot of opportunity to. To shoot yourself with that second arrow, so to speak, um, because of the length of, of time that this goes on for or could go on for. So yeah, self-compassion. Yeah, it's fabulous, uh, tool that it kind of belongs in all of our toolboxes.

Mm-hmm. , I agree. I, I completely. Well, thanks Jeff. Thank you for joining me in this conversation and for, you know, bringing, bringing yourself into, into just, you know, this is a heady topic, right? This isn't like the, the fun stuff that we get to work on as therapists. Mm-hmm. as well. Mm-hmm. , you know, there's, there's so much.

Aspect of mental health, that that has more of an inspirational tone. Um, and yet it's really good to have these conversations about the tougher stuff too. Right. And, and for us to sit here, I appreciate you sitting here with me cuz it really does help normalize that this is something people experience and that that's okay and it's okay to talk about it and to get.

Yeah, it sure is. And, and we hope that, um, folks that are listening, uh, bring this topic up to their loved ones that are their therapists or whomever supports them in, in their recovery or their mental health journey, and. And I think that, uh, people will get a, a pretty overwhelming response of, oh, yes, I, I struggle with that too.

So this co co-regulation we can even connect around, um, around some difficulties with the intention of supporting each other, uh, through it. . 

Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.