It’s winter, and that means it’s cold and dark in upstate New York for the next several months. Many people start to struggle with sadness, anxiety, and tiredness this season. If their symptoms start to impair their ability to function in daily life, this might be diagnosed as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a depression that often occurs in winter.
If you love winter and are happy it lasts about 6 months of the year up here, I am very happy for you! But if you’re struggling, here are a few simple ideas for dealing with the winter blues.
1. Mental health treatment.
If you’re feeling down this winter, therapy can really help. Consulting with a psychiatrist or other medical professional to talk about possible medication options to help you through the most difficult months might also be useful, depending on your preference, and what exactly you’re struggling with.
2. Sun lamps and Vitamin D.
There is research suggesting that both sun lamps and Vitamin D can improve mood during the darker months. You can use a sun lamp for only twenty minutes a day, sitting in front of it while working at your computer or on some other project. Here’s a link with more information about sun lamps, why they work, how to use them, and which ones are recommended. And here’s an article with more information about the research supporting the benefits of taking a Vitamin D supplement during winter months.
3. A walk in the park.
Yes, it’s cold. Maybe windy. And definitely icy. But there’s also research suggesting that spending even ten minutes in nature each day makes us happier. In Japan, they even have a name for this practice – they call it “Forest Bathing.” Bundle up, buy some YakTraks so you won’t slip on the ice, and check out Highland Park, Mendon Ponds, Ellison Park or whatever park is closest to you. If you want to know more about the practice of forest bathing, check out this Time Magazine article.
If you’re struggling this winter and you’d like to try option 1, therapy, feel free to reach out to me to schedule a session. (585) 294-4776 . Stay warm!