|Posted on February 14, 2016 at 8:00 PM|
Winter in Michigan
It’s the middle of February in Michigan. Snow is on the ground, trees are without leaves, and the birds have not yet returned home. The children are not playing outside, nobody is barbequing, the parks are empty, and most of us are spending our free time hibernating and patiently waiting for brighter days. During these months, the number of people experiencing symptoms of depression increases drastically.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known and minimized as just the “Winter Blues,” is a type of depression that is linked to the change in seasons. For most people who struggle with SAD, it begins with the change to the fall season and continues throughout the winter months. They may experience a lack of energy, sadness, moodiness, feelings of hopelessness, sleep and appetite changes, etc.
SAD is real, and it does affect many people, yet it can be treated. Some people benefit from phototherapy (light therapy), psychotherapy, and/or medications. If you or someone you love seem to be on a downer that cannot be kicked, consider the possibility of SAD.
What can you do? Most people can help themselves improve their moods by increasing the amount of time spent outdoors. Is it cold? Well, yes. Of course it is -- it’s winter in Michigan! However, bundle up with a hat, scarf, warm coat, gloves or mittens and winter boots to venture outside for at least an hour daily.
In addition to walking outside, look around your office and home. Can you arrange your furniture or seating to let in more natural sunlight? Open all the curtains and let the sun shine through! Those light blocking curtains are great when watching a movie, but not so great during the day when you're struggle with SAD.
If the natural sun does not seem to help, professional help might be necessary. You can contact your primary care physician for an antidepressant or contact a therapist for psychotherapy, or you can do both.
On a positive note, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2nd (Groundhog Day), so I am hopeful Spring is on the way! Hang in there and know that I’m here if you need me!
Peace, Love & Hope,