Feeling Blah? Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder are Sensitive to Seasonal Changes

In my coaching practice, there are certain weeks that I refer to as “theme weeks.” These are weeks in which many of my clients seem to be dealing with a similar challenge. For the past week, that challenge can best be described as “The Blahs.”

It’s not that things are falling apart, but stress and overwhelm are kicking in for what seems like no particular reason. More than anything, people are feeling tired, bored, and just kinda “blah.” Since this is a recurring theme in my coaching, and I have to admit I’ve felt it a bit myself, too, I can only conclude one thing: this inexplicable blah feeling is a result of season changes.

While not all of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression often brought on by winter), adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are more neurologically sensitive than most. So small changes in our environment can have big effects on our mood. There are about 2 weeks left before winter officially begins, but the days are already much shorter and, for many of us, the temperatures have dropped significantly. The loss of daylight hours alone is enough to make an ADDer feel sluggish, tired, and moody. In other words: blah.

Slowing down in fall and winter is actually quite normal and natural, just as it’s natural to feel more energy in the spring and summer. Rather than beating yourself up over feeling “blah,” why not give yourself permission to slow down a bit?

Adults with ADD have a nasty habit of punishing themselves for not being productive enough. You set big goals, get mad at yourself when you don’t finish them quickly enough (or at all), and you tell yourself that you’re not allowed to have fun until you get all that work done. But does that approach work? Nope.

If you don’t feel up to going out as much, or taking on too many projects, don’t push yourself. If you find yourself getting tired earlier in the evening, get some extra sleep. Humans, like all animals, are programmed to take our cues from nature. So when the sun goes down early, the animals begin to hibernate, and many of the plants around us go dormant, it’s natural for us to want to slow down, too.

Of course, if at any point you find yourself wanting to sleep all the time or feel extreme sadness or hopelessness, then you may be depressed and it’s important to talk to your doctor.

For most of us, however, the seasonal blahs will visit us every year around this time. Instead of pushing yourself to be “productive” and beating yourself up because you’re not getting as much done as you were a month ago, try putting your energy into cooking nourishing meals, enjoying good books, and catching up on the movies you want to see.

I’m willing to bet that when you take the pressure off, those seasonal blahs will begin to fade. Remember, it’s okay to slow down when the seasons change. Just be sure to take good care of yourself!

Copyright (c) 2007 Jennifer Koretsky