Updated: Jan 7
Is your mood ring blue this winter?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a collection of depressive, and often anxious, symptoms that arise during the fall and winter months and naturally dissipate in spring and summer.
Seasonal affective disorder is actually quite prevalent. Especially for those who have experienced depressive episodes in the past (clusters of symptoms such as depressed mood, loss of pleasure in activities, isolation, and hopelessness), such symptoms tend to recur during the winter months. Research has found that the decrease in daylight hours, disturbances to sleep/wake cycles, lowered activity, and isolation have likely played a part.
Here are some quick tips and tricks for fighting those winter blues:
-See the light! Get outside when you can. The most commonly recommended remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder has been to seek out some sun whenever and wherever you can. If the outdoors do not appeal to you, consider purchasing a “happy light,” a lamp or device that gives off some much needed rays.
-Talk with trusted others about how you feel. Many people are surprised to learn how prevalent seasonal anxiety and depression seems to be. Connecting over these feelings can create a sense of similarity (a concept that psychologists call “normalizing.”)
-Reestablish your connections. In the winter, it can be common to isolate and lose touch with those that you care about. If you haven’t heard from those you know and love, think about taking that first step!
-Boost your physical health. Healthy diets tend to take a nose-dive in the winter. Consider monitoring your intake and ensuring that you are getting enough water, vegetables, and fruits. Medical providers often recommend a vitamin D supplement to address the lack of sunlight in the wintertime (which is a natural source of vitamin D).
-Exercise. Physical activity often halts when the temperature drops and the daylight hours are in short supply; however, these days, there are some truly varied and creative options. Many folks who detest the gym have found success and fulfillment from online videos, social media accounts, texts with friends who act as “accountability partners,” and long walks with their dogs.
-Don’t forget to plan for the future. You might feel stuck during the winter months but setting a goal for yourself can help to instill hope and a sense of control over your life and surroundings. Goals can be personal, professional, social, centered on volunteering your time and energy to others, etc.
If you think you are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms and would like to schedule a free consultation with a licensed clinical psychologist, our Skyline providers are available to help. Don't hesitate to call or message us whenever makes sense for you!