How to beat the winter blues

Psychology Today reports that up to 20-percent of people may experience a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Posted: Jan 20, 2020 7:18 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- As the temperatures drop, for some, so does their mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a form of depression that can impact many this time of year. According to Psychology Today, up to 20-percent of people may have mild seasonal affective disorder. It often begins in late fall and ends in the spring; but, it can also occur during the summer.

Mental health experts say it follows many similarities to depression but additional symptoms include: over-eating, weight gain, sleep disturbance, oversleeping and changes in mood.

Staying active, maintaining a healthy diet, and using a light therapy lamp can help.

Dan Teske is a mental health therapist at the Hamilton Center in Terre Haute.

He shares how a lack of sunlight plays a factor in this disorder.

“The difference in latitude has a big role. That's why we try to retreat down south. You know, try to go on that vacation this time of year, is to get the sunlight our body is craving, and that vitamin D, does play a huge role in combatting depression,” Teske said.

News 10 found Janine Nowicki and Veronica Richardson walking at the Meadows Shopping Center.

Both are working to avoid the winter blues.

"I know people who get impacted by seasonal depression, you know, and I can probably speak for myself and say that it probably impacts me, too. The cold, dreary days, you know, and probably lack of sunshine,” Nowicki said.

Nowicki and Richardson told News 10 that physical activity makes a big difference.

"If I walk a good hour, it just makes my mind feel so much better,” Nowicki said.

Getting out and engaging with others can also help.

"I get out and walk every day, and it seems like when I get out, you know, I meet people. I socialize and that's a good thing. Sometimes people are down and out, and getting out walking, you know, kind of clear your head,” Richardson said.

Teske encourages people to pursue both of these activities.

"Making sure that your diet still consists of the right balance of nutrients,” Teske said. “You're not just taking the easy way out and eating all those heavy wintery foods that we like to enjoy, making sure that you're keeping a balance of healthy stuff."

Mental health experts say don't be afraid to ask for help.

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