Feeling the winter blues? Doctor shares self-care tips for seasonal affective disorder
Are you starting to feel the winter blues? A doctor has a few tips for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
Alyssa Fox, 23, of Huntington was diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder six years ago. It is a form of depression that doctors say happens naturally this time of year as daylight hours get shorter and colder weather gets closer.
Fox says now that she's aware of it, she can do more to combat it.
“I distract myself with friends, family and I try to push myself to be more around them because they make me feel better, because seasonal depression makes you want to stay inside,” she says.
Doctors say symptoms include feeling sluggish, sleeping more, and having an increased appetite.
Julia Sinski, 25, of Glen Head, was also diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder and says knowing she has it is half the battle.
"It's definitely manageable with the right tools,” she says.
A new poll from the American Psychiatric Association finds that 4 in 10 people experience a declining mood in the winter months.
“Since the early fall we have been seeing an increase in patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder symptoms,” says psychiatrist Dr. Liat Jarkon.
She adds that there are things you can do to improve your mood, like reframing or changing your mindset about the season.
“All the things that are wonderful about it -- the snow, making snowmen, doing activities outdoors, spending more time with family -- if you focus on the positive things,” Jackson says.
Other ways to battle the winter blues are using bright light therapy, taking vitamin D and taking walks -- exercise increases serotonin.
Psychiatrists say seasonal affective disorder occurs much more often in women than in men, and it is more common in those living in the Northeast, where there are shorter daylight hours in the winter.