Winter Blues & Seasonal Affective Disorder

Published on
February 15, 2024

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Do you notice that your mood or energy levels seem to dip in the winter months? You are not alone.

Many people, especially those living in a northern climate like Emdonton, notice these changes when the days get shorter and colder. The 'winter blues' is not an official diagnosis, and symptomstend to be mild and short lived; such as fatigue, stress or low mood in the fall and winter.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mental health diagnosis, and involves a more significant negative affect on daily functioning that resembles depression, and is seasonal with the onset during fall and symptoms resolve in late spring. Symptoms include fatigue, low moodm withdrawing from social activities, isolation and weight gain.

How to Minimize The Winter Blues

The winter blues and seasonal affective disorder are brought on by the change in seasons with shorter days and less exposure to sunlight. Since we can't all take a vacation to a sunny destination for the whole winter, here are some other strategies you can try:

  • Sit in an area with natural light and sunshine for at least ten minutes a day
  • Take Vitamin D supplements daily
  • Try light therapy with a SAD lamp (simulates sunlight)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stick with a consistent sleep and wake routine

If the symptoms listed above persist more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor or therapist. Medication and therapy can be very effective in treating symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder