Written by Beth Willis, MA, LPCA

Do you find yourself struggling with an overwhelming sense of sadness and depression during the winter months?  You aren’t alone! An estimated 10 million Americans experience increased feelings of melancholy, a lack of energy and a marked sense of depression during seasons that have less sunshine and more overcast days. This sadness can be a symptom of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The symptoms from SAD can vary, but as you probably have already guessed, temporary depression and sadness are the biggest components of the disorder. Below is a list of five suggestions to try to alleviate your symptoms:

  1. Blue lights have been recommended and proven to help improve mood for sufferers of SAD. There are all kinds of products available online. A cheaper option would be to visit a home improvement store and purchase lightbulbs with a blue hue.
  2. Mind and body activities such as yoga, mindfulness, exercise, meditation, etc. These practices can help the person ‘ground’ themselves in the present.
  3. Laughter – it really can be the best medicine. Watch, listen or consume media like movies, books and podcasts with funny content for some laughs. Studies show that terminally ill patients fared much better emotionally and physically when they watched funny videos often and laughed.
  4. Psychotherapy. You knew I’d include this one. Having a safe, judgement free space to explore those sad/depressive thoughts could be what you need right now.
  5. Check your Vitamin D levels. This can usually be done through your doctor’s office. We receive Vitamin D from the sun, but sometimes we just aren’t getting enough Vitamin D this way, so adding a supplement to your daily diet may be helpful.   

So, stop and think about when those sad thoughts and/or depressive symptoms present themselves and look for a pattern. Do they happen more often during months when you’re stuck inside and see less of the sunshine? Consider some of the suggestions mentioned above to relieve yourself from these negative feelings!  I am happy to help you with your SAD, depression, or other types of mood-related struggles.  Call me at (502)791-6450 and we will set up an appointment that fits your schedule. You can also return to our home page (www.acadiacounseling.com) and click on the “Request Appointment” button and select an appointment from my calendar!