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Kick the Winter Woes

December 28, 2018

Enter the new year feeling merry and bright.

When the days seem short, the weather feels cold, and the world looks a little darker, you may find yourself with a case of the winter blues.

It’s normal to experience a lower mood when you’re missing the warm weather and sunshine, but there are steps you can take to maintain your positivity. Julie Manuel, MSEd, LPCC, NCC, psychotherapist at Kettering Behavioral Medicine Center, suggests these tips for keeping a positive outlook during the winter months:

  • Keep it light. Turn on bright lights, sit near a window, and leave your blinds open. If you are experiencing a more severe case of low mood, light therapy may be appropriate.
  • Consistency is key. Keep a consistent routine of sleeping eight hours a night, exercising each day, and eating a well-balanced diet. Any one of these things can impact your emotions.
  • Get involved. Join a gym or a church group, have your friends over for a football game, host a gathering with your family, or plan some other fun activity that you can look forward to.
  • Gain perspective. Julie especially recommends reminding yourself that this feeling, though difficult, is most often temporary. “As always, spring is coming,” Julie says. “These next few months may be dark, dreary, and cold, but there are ways to combat how you’re feeling.”

 

Feeling SAD?

If you find that you’re consistently feeling down during the winter months, you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that typically happens the same time each year, usually starting late fall and lasting through the winter months.

“We typically see this disorder because of the reduced amount of sunlight, which can impact the chemical blue hormones in our brain,” Julie says.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include:

  • Low mood for most of the day, for several days in a row
  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Not getting along with others
  • The potential for suicidal thoughts

Find resources near you

If you feel you need assistance beyond tips for maintaining positivity, call Kettering Behavioral Medicine Center at (937) 534-4600.