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Have you been feeling in the slumps? Do you find yourself engaging in fewer social events because it is winter? Do the short days make you want to crawl into bed and avoid all responsibilities? You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is tied to changes in the seasons. SAD affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Most people with SAD experience an onset of depressive symptoms in the fall that persist through the winter and are alleviated in the spring and summer. Symptoms of SAD include feeling listless or sad for most of the day, losing interest in activities that once interested you, having low energy, sleeping too much, overeating, having difficulty concentrating, feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty, and having thought of not wanting to be alive. If this sounds like you, don’t just shrug it off as the winter blues. There are ways to help you feel better, because you deserve to. There are some things you can do without professional help. You’ll want to get outside as much as you can during the day to take advantage of the sunlight. Open the blinds to allow natural light in while you’re inside. You can buy a lightbox, and sit in front of it for about 30 minutes each morning. As always, it is important to exercise and keep a social life. Taking Vitamin D may also help. Especially if symptoms are severe, we encourage you to seek professional help. This may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and medication. Remember, you are not alone, and there are people who want to help!


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