The cold and the snow this winter has been endless! If you’ve found yourself feeling a little down and dreary during the cold weather you’re not alone. Many of us have felt this way, and for some, feeling S.A.D. during the wintertime is a regular occurrence.
S.A.D., or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a type of depression that is characterized by a serious mood change that is usually triggered by the seasons. It can happen in the summer or winter but often occurs during the winter months when there is less sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder tends to come back year after year around the same time – it is often characterized by a lack of motivation, decreased energy, hopelessness, sadness, lack of concentration and fatigue, among others.
Regardless of whether you have symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or feelings of sadness in general, here are some tips for coping:
1. Don’t be alone– Make an effort to spend time with family, friends and people who are good for you.
2. Set goals– Think about what goals you have for work/home/family/etc and work to make your goals a reality! Make a list and commit to working toward these goals.
3. Look forward to Something– Make plans. It can be a trip (someplace warm?), an outing….something. This will help break up the monotony of winter.
4. Eat healthy and Exercise– this is always a good idea and will help you feel better and get healthy.
5. Get light!– Exposure to sunlight during the day can help symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Start by opening your curtains, facing a window during working hours, or getting a walk in during the day (making sure to always wear sunscreen when out in the sun).
6. Talk to someone– Consider going to therapy. Everyone needs someone to talk to and a therapist can provide valuable tools for coping with your feelings.
7. See your doctor– If you can’t seem to pull yourself out of your funk, be sure to talk with your doctor about medications and other treatment options that may help you.
Above all else, simply know that you are not alone. S.A.D. affects many people and there is help.
Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician and On-Air Health Expert. She frequently appears on CBS 3 Philly News, Fox 29 Philly News, CNN and others. She is the creator of The Physicians Blog. Please visit her at www.jennifercaudle.com.
Information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical consultation or serve as a substitute for medical advice provided by a physician or qualified medical professional.