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Feeling the winter blues? It could be Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted by UFMC Pueblo in Company News | 0 comments

SAD
Short days, less sunlight, winter. Feeling a little down? Well you aren’t the only one.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in winter. Otherwise known as seasonal depression, SAD can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy levels, taking a toll on all aspects of your life from your relationships and social life to work, school, and your sense of self-worth. You may feel like a completely different person to and much different thank you feel in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. While a less common form of the disorder causes depression during the summer months, SAD usually begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and remains until the brighter days of spring or early summer.
Tip #1: Get as much natural sunlight as possible—it’s free!
Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun without wearing sunglasses (but never stare directly at the sun). Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside if you can stay warm enough. And increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.

Tip #2: Exercise regularly—it can be as effective as medication
Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, especially if you’re able to exercise outside in natural daylight. Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. Exercise can also help to improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem.

Tip #3: Reach out to family and friends—and let them help
Close relationships are vital in reducing isolation and helping you manage SAD. Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. It may feel more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will boost your mood. Even if you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect or start new relationships.

Tip #4: Eat the right diet
Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.

Tip #5: Take steps to deal with stress—by making time for fun
Whatever the time of year, too much stress can exacerbate or even trigger depression. Figure out the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload or unsupportive relationships, and make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact. Practicing daily relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, reduce negative emotions such as anger and fear, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. And make sure to do something you enjoy every day. Having fun is a great stress buster, so make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be painting, playing the piano, working on your car, or simply hanging out with friends.
If you’re feeling down due to the winter blues, talk to your doctor about ways to improve your mood.

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