Sadly, this winter continues to go on and on and on. Half of the country finds itself dealing with snow, ice and cold weather with very little reprieve in between storm fronts. It does not take long until this begins to affect an individuals mood. Many people call it winter blues, cabin fever or the official title is seasonal affective depression.
I do not deny that I am a summer girl and I crave the sun. I am one of those individuals who struggles with the lack of sunlight that comes with winter time. The short days, cold weather and hazardous conditions can make one truly hibernate and dread getting out of the house. Staying inside often finds us less active and craving foods which contribute to less movement. A vicious cycle!
For many people, the serious mood changes associated with the changes in season can become truly a significant issue. Symptoms such as .lack of energy, fatigue, sleeping difficulty, loss of interest and overall depressed mood are what was once called seasonal affective disorder. Now known as seasonal affective depression, this occurs due to the changes in the amount of sunlight that one receives as the days become shorter and nights longer. Not surprisingly, the further one lives from the equator, the stronger the chance of being susceptible.
Depending upon one’s severity, there are many ways to treat this type of depression.
– Spending as little as 30 minutes per day with a Light Box,where you sit in front of light which mimics,the natural sunlight, can increase your serotonin levels and improve your overall mood. You can buy a light box over the counter or have one recommended by a doctor.
– There is some belief that increasing the amount of Vitamin D levels with supplements can be helpful.
– If these steps are not helpful, there is also the addition of an antidepressant. Many only need to take this medication during the winter months while others benefit from taking throughout the year.
I have found it helpful to increase my Vitamin D with supplements and to keep a regular exercise routine. There have also been times when I have benefited from using light therapy.
If you find yourself struggling during this time of year, you may benefit from some of the above suggestions. I encourage you to try one of the basic ideas and to speak with your physician for further help.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing in the state of Kentucky. Please note this blog post is being written for informational purposes only and should not be considered counseling advice. If you feel you may be dealing with seasonal affective depression or another mental health issue, I encourage you to see the help of a mental health professional.
Sheryl is a transition coach, trainer and speaker from Lexington Kentucky. As the author of the blog How to Make A Life, she uses her own life and journey as a blueprint to help others find motivation, inspiration and hope for a healthy and happy life. About Twitter Instagram Pinterest