The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

SAD: Got the Winter Blues?

Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) affects a great deal of people throughout the world. Basically what it means is that someone's moods are affected by changes in seasons. This is pronounced in individuals who live in more northerly climates. When were there are long winters with short, overcast days, it can really have a big impact on someone's disposition. Daylight is a huge factor in triggering the brain's ability to cope with depressive feelings.

What can you do? Here are a few tips in managing SAD if you think you might be suffering from it.

1) Get a sun lamp. Google this. They are out there ranging in different prices. This can be helpful if you are currently in a locale in the dead of winter with little natural sunlight.

2) Talk to someone. Find a therapist. Talk to a friend. Confide in a family member.

3) See a doctor. If your mood is low enough where you are feeling like you may be experiencing full-blown depression, see your MD for a full physical. Rule out any physical medical problems. Talk to your doctor (or see a psychiatrist) about anti-depressants.

4) Exercise. Get the chemicals in your brain that produce heightened mood moving.

5) Eat right.

6) Don't isolate. Try to be social- even if it's just picking up the phone. It's easy to get into a "hibernation" mode. Don't do it. Try to keep yourself motivated by having people over, going to movies with friends, making time other than just for work and sleep.

7) Find hobbies to do indoors. Focus your energy on SOMETHING!

If you're not sure that you're experiencing SAD, try to track your mood to see if you can find a pattern with weather or seasons on your mood and disposition. Talk to a therapist and/or a doctor to be accurately screened. There are a lot of resources out there- and it doesn't mean the only answer is moving to a warmer climate!

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