The winter blues are coming for you!

December 13, 2022 / Molina Healthcare

The winter blues are coming for you!

We’ve all heard about the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is experienced by a lot of people when the days are shorter, the nights are longer, the weather is colder, and we spend more time inside.

Officially, SAD is a kind of depression that occurs during the same season each year. It’s also referred to as winter or seasonal depression.

If you have SAD, you might have one or more of the following:

  • Sadness
  • Unhappiness
  • Grumpiness
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Concentration problems
  • Irritation or agitation
  • Extreme fatigue or a lack of energy
  • Restlessness or problems sleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities

While anyone can experience SAD, it’s more common in:

  • People living in places where there are less daylight hours
  • People who have other mood disorders
  • People who have relatives with other mental illnesses, like major depression or schizophrenia

Medical professionals aren’t sure what specifically causes SAD. They think a big factor is a lack of sunlight. A lack of light might upset your biological clock. It controls your sleep-wake pattern. It also controls other important circadian rhythms. A lack of sunlight can also affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Serotonin affects your mood.

Because SAD is linked to the seasons of the year, it will usually come and go around the same time each year. You might feel unhappy and tired during the fall and winter. You might have more energy and feel more cheerful during the spring and summer.

The best thing you can do if you have SAD is exercise regularly and get more sunlight. Try to exercise outside when the sun is out. Being active early in the day might help you have more energy. It might also help you feel less depressed. If it’s too cold outside, exercise or do something fun by a sunny window. Try reading a book, calling a friend or enjoying a healthy, balanced meal.

Your doctor can also help diagnose and treat SAD. Give them a call if you have any questions or need more help.

This season, don’t be sad. Beat SAD!

Category: Mental Health