As the daylight hours dwindle during winter, many of us experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Otherwise known as seasonal depression or winter depression, this is a very real phenomenon that can affect your mental and even physical health. As a healthcare professional, it's up to you to remain healthy so that you can perform at your best. Let's take a look at some of the common signs of seasonal depression so you know what to look for in your fellow nurses—and in yourself.
Feelings of Exhaustion, Apathy, or Sadness
Let's be honest: it's not uncommon to be tired, or even exhausted, at the end of a long shift in healthcare. But if you're feeling constantly tired, apathetic, or downright sad, something might be amiss. Frequent feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness aren't normal—it's time to talk to someone if you're feeling this way or you know someone who is.
Changes in Appetite or Weight
Has your appetite been waning? Perhaps you've been craving more carbs than ever. Or, your weight is fluctuating rapidly in one direction or the other. While everyone is entitled to some change in weight or appetite now and then, rapid or drastic changes aren't normal. And an extreme loss of appetite or intense cravings can also be a sign that something is wrong.
Do you find yourself constantly distracted while at work? Unable to concreate on the tasks at hand? Is it starting to affect your job? Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder could be to blame. The condition makes it hard to concentrate on what's in front of you, even when it's something you've been doing for a long time.
Trouble Sleeping or Oversleeping
Have you noticed yourself oversleeping frequently? Taking naps constantly to try and feel normal again? Or, perhaps you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which only makes you more tired during your shifts. These kind of discrepancies in your sleeping pattern can really start to affect your work and the patients under your care, so it's important to have the problem addressed.
Don't Let SAD Affect Your Career
If you or someone you know might be suffering from SAD, don't wait to act. Talk to a healthcare professional to address the problem. And if you think a change of shift or job might help, get in touch with 24/7 MedStaff's medical recruitment experts. You'll be glad you did!