Tips for Managing Wintertime Depression
So many of us are sick and tired of the winter – the cold, the snow, the ice, the darkness, and may be feeling the winter blues or winter “blahs.” Well, hang in there, spring is almost here.
To help get us through this final stretch of winter, Sachin Mehta, MD, a psychiatrist with Belmont Behavioral Health who specializes in treating people with depression and other mood disorders, offers some advice about kicking the winter blues.
WHAT ARE THE WINTER BLUES?
The clinical term for the winter blues is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a form of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months when exposure to natural sunlight is reduced and SAD goes away in the spring when there’s increased sunlight.
Symptoms of the winter blues are many of the symptoms of depression: sadness, anxiety, loss of interest in usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, difficulty concentrating, and the need for increased sleep.
To help kick the winter blues, Dr. Mehta offers these tips:
GET A MEDICAL EVALUATION.
A medical professional can rule out illnesses such as hypoglycemia or hypothyroidism which can look like depression or the winter blues.
Spend an hour outdoors each day walking at a brisk pace, even on cloudy days, and even if it’s really cold out. Try to be outdoors mid-day when the sun is at its highest point and is the most effective.
Do at least 30 minutes of phyisical activity a day, three times a week or more. Regular physical activity helps reduce depression and fatigue.
WATCH YOUR DIET.
Eat a healthy diet in order to get sufficient amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. People with winter blues may crave sweets and starches, so try to keep protein in your diet as a balance.
KEEP YOUR ROUTINE.
Maintain your regular activities, including interacting with family and friends. Social contact and support is important when experiencing depression or winter blues.
Take a minimum of 400 IUS per day of Vitamin D.
LET THE LIGHT IN!
Open curtains and blinds at home and in your office to let in as much natural light as possible. Sit near a window when you can, preferably in the sun.
DON’T SLEEP TOO MUCH.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Avoid sleeping in or going to bed too early.
COUNT OFF THE DAYS.
Remember, Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend, and the first day of Spring is less than three weeks away!
For an evaluation for depression or other psychological issue, give us a call at 1-800-EINSTEIN.
Copyright 2015 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.