Overcome the winter blues by taking care of yourself
Do you feel weak? Overcome the winter blues by taking care of yourself
When daylight saving time ends in November and the holidays end, it’s common to experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Less vitamin D, cold temperatures and the stress of a busy season can take its toll on the human body, both physically and mentally.
Also known as winter blues or seasonal depression, this temporary condition makes people feel tired and lazy, lonely or sad. They may sleep poorly, have mood swings, overeat, or avoid social activities. Rachel Morse, an Oklahoma State University Extension mental health specialist, said she tries to avoid using the illness’s acronym SAD because of the negative connotations it suggests.
“There is nothing wrong with having seasonal affective disorder,” she said. “In the winter, when our body clock adjusts to the decrease in daylight and the emotional impacts of the holidays, we need to redouble our efforts to combat this. These feelings are part of the seasonal transition, and it’s a good reminder to develop self-care habits that we should practice year round.
Basic personal care involves getting enough sleep, eating vegetables and other healthy foods, and adjusting to daily movement or exercise. Morse said she battles the winter blues by sticking to her routine of weekly work and volunteer events while making an effort to socialize with friends and family. The key is not to attempt drastic changes during a volatile time of the year.
“December is not the best time to try a new way of eating or an important diet,” she said. “It takes time to adapt and your body is already trying to adjust to the changing seasons. “
Fresh air, light, exercise and socialization will help ease the heaviness of a cold, dark winter, but when sleep is disturbed and symptoms persist, Morse said it was time to investigate .
“If a person has been diagnosed with depression or some other psychological problem, they need to be more aware of how seasonal affective disorder can affect other problems such as high blood pressure,” she said. declared.
Studies have shown that those who live farther from the equator are more affected by seasonal depression. Oklahoma is known for its mild climate, but in the winter it can help those who are feeling down. Most winter storms are short lived, and 70 degree days in January can be an uplifting glimpse of spring.
“We all deal with it in different ways, but it’s not a lifelong condition,” Morse said. “Talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder is a great way to discuss how we’re all doing this time of year and normalize conversations about mental health. “
This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: Everyday Home Blog: Overcome the Winter Blues by Taking Care of Yourself