Do you get the winter blues? That wave of gloomy emotions that comes with slushy sidewalks, dark days and sniffly noses? When we’re down in the dumps, we tend to consume more snacks, watch more TV and stay in bed longer than usual. A few people (2-3%) experience a more serious condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). Many SAD symptoms are similar to other types of depression and can affect their daily lives. However, when the symptoms reappear over consecutive winters, without any other reason for the changes in mood and behaviour, chances are they are suffering from SAD.
In addition to the above, SAD symptoms include weight gain, lethargy, irritability, anxiety, despair and difficulty concentrating.
There are different levels of SAD. For those with severe symptoms — complete lack of interest in activities; excessive fatigue or thoughts of harming themselves — it is important to seek medical attention. Those who have a mild form of SAD, respond well to milder weather and the sun. Now, that we cannot catch a cheap flight from Detroit to Florida, one practical option is “light therapy” — exposure to a special lamp that emits bright light for several minutes per day. These lamps are designed to naturally trigger the production of serotonin in the brain, the chemical that makes you feel good. They are available at Yurek.
With continuous uncertainty about Covid-19, we should not take the winter blues lightly. Get the help you need and encourage your family and friends to do the same. We deserve to enjoy the season.