With the winter upon us, many experience not only a change in the air but a change within themselves. Due to the cold weather and the shorter days, people are susceptible to increased sadness. As you have probably already heard from friends and family, the weather feels “gloomy” and some might even say “depressing.” Even though the holidays bring parties and laughter, for some this time of year brings sadness and despair. Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately called SAD) is a common occurrence this time of year. As the seasons change, those with SAD experience depression, which includes symptoms such as apathy, lack of motivation, tiredness, low appetite, social withdrawal (hibernating), and down mood. Typically, these symptoms begin in the late fall or early winter and dissipate by early spring. Females and those with a family history a mood disorder are more prone to SAD.
Fortunately, there are positive outcomes for those with SAD and because it is seasonal, it will change as the seasons do. Though, this is not all that hopeful for those in the thick of it. I would like to suggest other helpful coping skills:
- Go outside anytime there is daylight. The sun will help your body regulate, improve mood, and help with sleep and energy. Even if it is cold, bundle up and get out there.
- Spend time with friends. One’s natural desire is to cuddle up inside and hibernate. If you want to improve your mood, you must do the opposite and spend time with others to decrease sadness.
- Exercise. Even if you cannot get outside, find a gym to join and get your body moving. This will help produce natural endorphins and help balance your serotonin levels, which will decrease depression.
- Seek out a professional. If you still are feeling down, please find a counselor. Brief therapy proves effective for those struggling with SAD.
To schedule an appointment or find out more about our services, please call us at 912-319-5552. We look forward to helping you feel better.