Let’s Talk: Winter Blues
Do you feel the winter weather has you feeling more blue than it should?
Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is when your mood is affected by the changing of the season and reduced sunlight. It starts as the days become shorter and you are exposed to less natural lights. Often referred to as Seasonal Depression, SAD can affect your mood, energy level, sleep, appetite, and motivation.
You might be struggling with motivation to work, difficulty completing daily tasks, straining to maintain social relationships, or decreased feeling of self-worth.
Most people who experience SAD, do every year, with some years being worse than others. This year with a pandemic, many more people will be spending time indoors. It is important to make your mental health a priority.
Tips for Combating Seasonal Depression
Get as Much Sunlight as You Can
Plan a walk on your lunch break or short a 10 minute walk between tasks.
Increase the natural light in your home or office, keep the blinds open.
Get Regular Exercise
Try to get at least 30 minutes a day of exercise, outside would be best if possible.
Try to eat well-balanced meals.
Snack on fruits and vegetables to help keep your energy up and curtail mood swings.
Talk to Friends or Family
Set up a weekly phone or video call with someone in your support system.
Have a virtual coffee with a coworker.
Reduce what is stressing you out and do not take on stressful tasks if you can avoid it.
Practice daily meditation or yoga.
Make time for the things you enjoy.
If your feelings are overwhelming talk to a therapist, join a group therapy or depression support group.
Talk to your doctor about light therapy or medications. Light therapy can be used under medical supervision to help reduce symptoms of SAD.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network offers phone service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255 and chat support on their website suicidepreventionlifeline.org 24/7 It is a free service available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.
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