Given that we are in the middle of winter, and that we live in a state infamous for its snowfalls it seemed appropriate to take a look at the impact that weather can have on our mood. Seasonal affective disorder (sometimes referred to as SAD) is a type of depression that occurs in anticipation of and response to the cold weather months. The main difference between SAD and other depressions is the pattern in which it occurs. Seasonal depressions are exactly that, they occur during a specific time of year and will subside following a change in the season. There is a marked depression in mood, noticeable lowering of energy, a perceived need to sleep more, and a loss of interest in activities. Also, there may be difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and isolation. It is important to note that because everyone likely experiences some of these during the winter, the symptoms must be severe enough to disrupt daily functioning. If you think that the weather is having a negative impact on your mood here are some things that you can do to help combat it!
1. Shed some light: One of the benefits of sunlight is that it plays a role in boosting our mood. Sunlight triggers the release of chemicals in the brain which create a sense of happiness. So whether it is taking a short walk or sitting a little closer to the window, try to expose yourself to some natural light.
2. Move your body: It’s no secret that exercise does wonderful things for the body and mind. Moving your body increases the production of endorphins which in turn helps to fight depression.
3. Spend some time being social: Interaction with friends and family can help brighten your mood and lift your spirits. Being around people who are supportive and caring is both good for your soul and an important part in the treatment of any mood disorder.
4: Consider counseling: If you think that you may need experienced support, then reach out to a counselor. They can help you explore and understand the feelings you may be having as well as work with you to come up with helpful ways of coping.
If you live in the Denver/Aurora area and have noticed that the “winter blues” are creating a rough time for you please contact the Center for Healing and Change to schedule an appointment.
Wishing you warmth!