Changing Seasons, Changing Moods

Do you get the winter blues?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is a condition in which some people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience a low or slightly depressed mood in the winter. Seasonal affective disorder is a fairly common condition - it has a definite seasonal pattern, occurs at a specific time of year, and goes away completely at other times. Basically, some people experience changes in mood when the seasons change, and may feel tired, have less energy than usual, sleep more than usual, or feel slightly depressed. Other people may experience increased appetite or have difficulty concentrating. It is fairly normal to have a shift in energy levels during the winter months. According to "Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms"

Tips for dealing with seasonal mood changes

  • Get outside! Yes, it's cold, and yes, there isn't as much daylight...but even 20 minutes spent outside has been shown to have a positive impact on mood. So bundle up and take a walk, especially on sunny days.
  • Exercise - exercise is a proven mood elevator at any time of year.
  • Spend time with people, especially people who are happy. Positive mood states are contagious!
  • Use the light box. Come see me, Ms Skelley, to learn about light box therapy and how to use the light box.
  • For more tips on dealing with seasonal mood changes, stop by the Counseling Center or email Ms Skelley to make an appointment.