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Are you feeling blue?

Winter is here, which means the weather is changing and it’s getting darker earlier. If you’re feeling blue, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall. For those who experience SAD (an estimated 1% to 9% in the U.S), the change in seasons has a greater impact and can lead to symptoms of depression. You are more likely to experience SAD if you are female (4x more often than men), live far from the equator, are already depressed (symptoms may worsen), are a young adult, or have a family history of depression. Possible causes include not enough light, low serotonin levels, high melatonin levels, and low levels of Vitamin D. Here are some tips for keeping your mood up during the changing seasons:

  • Go outdoors and get more natural light.
  • Avoid stress, and plan ahead to reduce stressful or difficult activities.
  • Exercise, and try to do something outside, if possible. Even taking a walk can help.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Keep a set sleep schedule. Don’t sleep in or nap too much.
  • Practice mind-body techniques (relaxation, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, music or art therapy).
  • Get support. Tell your family and friends so they can help, or join a support group.
  • Celebrate small victories. Recognize your achievements, and reward yourself!

It’s normal to have occasional days when you feel down. However, if you feel down for many days in a row and can’t get motivated to do enjoyable activities, see your doctor. Getting support is a way of taking care of yourself! For additional support with depression, consider joining Pinnacle Health Management. Uplift: Overcoming Depression equips members with coping techniques to better manage the symptoms of depression, improving their quality of life and reducing long-term medical costs.