Do the winter months have you feeling “under the weather?” Well, they certainly don’t call it flu season for nothing, but I’m talking about another type of weather. Perhaps you feel sadder this time of year or less energetic than usual? If so, you may be experiencing the “winter blues,” and you most certainly are not the only one.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the winter blues is common and typically resolves on its own as the seasons change. It can be attributed to the shortening days of winter and less sunlight, stress from the holiday season and other factors.
So how can one combat those blues?
Try keeping up with activities you normally enjoy, like going to the movies, taking walks, or ice-skating, a signature winter activity. Try to get out into the sunlight when possible and spend time in well-lit spaces. Spend time with those you enjoy being around. Eat foods with nutritional value, and try to avoid overdoing carbs like cookies and other sweets.
However, what if you suspect that what you’re experiencing during the winter season may be something more complex than “the blues?”
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that emerges as the seasons change and interferes with a person’s daily functioning. Like other forms of depression, it is associated with a gloomy outlook and feeling hopeless, worthless, and/or irritable.
For a minimum of 2 years, a person must meet the full criteria for major depression during specific seasons to be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder can be treated, most often with medication, light therapy, psychotherapy, and/or Vitamin D.
If you feel that your “winter blues” may be more than just the blues, a trained mental health professional can discuss your symptoms with you and determine the appropriate options to help manage them.
Gina Pellrine, LMSW
We’re here to help! Curious about your Winter Blues? Contact Nourish Your Mind for a free consultation today. (845) 547-0479.