As snow continues to fall, it can often feel like there is no end in sight to winter. Days of cold, snow, and gray skies can really do a number on how you feel. These feelings can often become overwhelming, to the point where you may feel like you are experiencing more than just the winter blues.
What is Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) relates to the changing of seasons and is usually more prevalent in late fall and winter into spring, when there is little sunlight. While it may feel like this is just part of winter, you want to pay attention to your body and know when it might be time to seek ways to improve your depression or seek professional help.
Symptoms vary from person to person, but some common ones include:
- Weight gain
- Sleeping more
- Loss of interest in activities
- Having thoughts of death or suicide
- Low energy
- Issues sleeping
Ways to Help Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you feel that your symptoms are on the milder side of seasonal depression, here are some ideas to help you work through your feelings:
- Exercise- This can help boost chemicals in the brain and improve your mood
- Get more light- Whether this is bringing more light into your space or booking a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny, having more light around you will help combat many SAD symptoms. There are even lights made to replicate a more natural light. Sitting in front of these lights for a prolonged amount of time has been found to be even more effective than Prozac.
- Get more vitamins- Taking a multivitamin with a good amount of B vitamins in it can help to improve how you feel.
- Cut back on carbs- You may feel the urge to eat more during this time, but try to limit carb intake and focus more on getting protein and vegetables to round out your diet and prevent weight gain.
When to see a Doctor for Seasonal Depression
The above tips are great if you feel that your symptoms are more mild and manageable. But there is a point in which it may be time to seek professional help for your depression. If you feel like you are down for an extended period and are having a hard time being motivated to do every day activities it’s probably time to see your doctor. Suicidal thoughts are also a sign of needing to get immediate professional help.
If you feel you may need professional help for seasonal depression, please contact one of our Family Practice physicians. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.