by: Jenny McNiese
Robert Frost once said, “You can’t get too much winter in the winter”. However, when the outside temperatures drop so do a lot of people’s moods. It’s pretty common to hear people talk about the “winter blues”, feeling sad, sluggish, not wanting to leave the house, etc. But did you know that symptoms that occur the same time every year and are severe enough to affect your daily life could actually be a mood disorder? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall/early winter and going away during the spring/summer. It’s diagnosed pretty often also, there are more than 3 million cases reported each year in the U.S. alone according to the Mayo Clinic.
So, what can one do? Experts recommend self-care including getting 25-30 minutes of exercise a day, better yet, do it outside! Being exposed to Vitamin D (or taking an oral supplement) can be helpful as well. If you can’t bear the coldness you may also get a light box which mimics natural sunlight. If you are still struggling despite these changes, it might be time to seek out a professional for talk therapy and/or an evaluation for medication to help decrease symptoms.