How to Beat the Winter Blues
In our area of the Pacific Northwest, many of us suffer from the “winter blues”, or it's more severe type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Often when the seasons change to fall and winter and the days get shorter and darker, we might feel sad and not ourselves. We may also get into a slump after the fun and festivities of the holidays have ended. This may cause us to have trouble sleeping, overeating, and have low motivation.
Not only is SAD common in people with depressive disorders, but also those with anxiety, panic and eating disorders, and also ADHD. SAD affects mostly women, and generally the onset is between ages 20-30 years of age. This means it may not affect our children as much as us caregivers. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our loved ones.
While it is not fully known what causes SAD, research shows that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin plays a large role, as well as high levels of melatonin. Both of these help maintain daily body rhythms, along with sufficient levels of vitamin D. Traditional treatments include light therapy, vitamin D, talking to a therapist, and possibly some medications.
Here are some more ideas for beating the winter blues:
~Get plenty of sleep
~Exercise, even a little
~Lean into your relationships
~Sit by a sunny window
~Keep things simple
~Eat a well-balanced diet
~Set reasonable expectations and boundaries
~Do things that make you happy
~Take time for yourself to recharge
If these coping strategies do not help, consider talking to your doctor or your mental health professional.
And remember, there is the new 9-8-8 hotline if you need someone to talk to right away.
Check out these links for more information:
This article was brought to you by Northshore Council PTSA's Mental Health Committee.
For past articles and more resources, please visit our Mental Health Awareness page.
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