What Central New Yorkers Can Do About Weather Depression
What is Weather Depression?
Weather Depression is a real thing. It's the inexplicable sadness that happens when the sun stays away because of extended periods of rain or snow or because winter doesn't seem to know when enough is enough. Weather Depression is actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka SAD. Which is fancy way of saying "I wish I had a Harry Potter wand that could instantly make the sun appear".
According to the Mayo Clinic website:
SAD is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months.
What Are Some Symptoms of SAD?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health:
Symptoms of major depression may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
- Having problems with sleep
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having low energy
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
For winter-pattern SAD, additional specific symptoms may include:
- Oversleeping (hypersomnia)
- Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
What Does Treatment for SAD entail?
Traditional treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy medications and self-care modalities that include eating whole foods and engaging in daily exercise. Other tips include:
- Keep your house well lit
- Sit closer to bright windows both at home and in office
- Take a walk outside each day
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Stick to your treatment plan
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi and meditation
- Practice music or art therapy
Get Immediate Help
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.