Winter, especially in the Pacific Northwest, can be brutal. Days on end of limited light, the endless drizzle of rain, and a sun that sets at 4 p.m. can take it's toll on anyone.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder whose onset occurs with the change of the season. For most people with SAD, the transition into winter finds them moody, irritable, and sapped of energy. Researchers believe SAD may be a type of hibernation found in other animals or an imbalance of serotonin or melatonin.
Treatment for SAD include light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy. In addition to recommendations from your doctor, you may find the following helpful:
- Make your environment brighter. Open the blinds, turn on the lights, and sit closer to windows throughout the day.
- Spend more time outside. Go for walks or spend some time in the park.
- Exercise. Finding a physical activity you enjoy doing will decrease depressive symptoms.
- Schedule social activities. Plan to do activities with friends to get yourself out of the house and engaged with the world.
It's normal to feel sadness occasionally. If you're finding your not enjoying activities you once did, if you feel overwhelmed or hopeless, you might be depressed. Seek the guidance of a professional for an evaluation.