If you feel down and low on energy during the winter months, you’re not alone. Each year, nearly 10 million American adults struggle with a mood disorder called seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that is triggered when the seasons change. For most people, seasonal affective disorder beings in the fall and lasts through the winter, but some may begin to feel symptoms beginning in the spring.

While it can be easy to brush these feelings off as the “winter blues,” it’s important to take action so you can be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself all year long.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and how can I manage them?

While there is no way to prevent or cure seasonal affective disorder, there are ways you can help manage symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include:

  1. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  2. Weight gain
  3. Sleeping too much
  4. Irritability

Stick to a routine

This can be hard when you feel down and are struggling with motivation, but maintaining a normal, day-to-day routine can help manage your mood. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, setting times to eat and scheduling regular social activities are great ways to add structure to your day and give your mood a boost.

Get or stay active

Exercise is often linked to a better mood. Studies show that being active helps to reduce the risk of depression and releases feel-good chemicals in the brain that help to boost your mood and can even help your emotional well-being. There are plenty of ways to be active throughout the day that don’t involve going to the gym. Going for a walk around the neighborhood, joining an exercise class with a friend or finding an online video you can follow at home can help you get up and moving while also having a little fun.

Spend time outdoors

Seasonal affective disorder is believed to be linked to lower sunlight levels in the winter. To help combat this, spend a little time outside every day. To soak up as much of the sun’s light as you can, try going for a walk around noon – when the sun is at its brightest – build a snowman with your kids or do some outside home maintenance. Remember to apply sunscreen before heading out. You can still get sunburn in the winter!

Speak to your medical provider

Sometimes we need a little extra help support our mental well-being. If your seasonal depression starts to interfere with your daily life, or you are feeling down, becoming unmotivated or pulling away from friends and family, it may be time to speak with a medical provider. At HealthLinc, our providers work with our behavioral health consultants to create a treatment plan that works for you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 1-88-580-1060.

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