It is unlikely to hear most people complain that Spring has hung around for far too long. But what about Winter? Of course, skiers and snowboard fanatics may never want it to end, but it seems to drag on way too long for many people. The result is often that people experience the "winter blues," a fairly common problem, especially in regions where winter weather lasts the longest. These “blues” can make one feel overly sad or cause a lack of energy, though most people do not understand why it is happening.
The term that the mental health field uses for this condition is Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. Experts believe this disorder is related to the reduced levels of sunlight exposure and physical activity that most people experience in the winter months. Therefore, people in northern regions tend to encounter symptoms of Seasonal Affective disorder in much larger numbers than those in Southern areas where it stays much warmer, and individuals have more access to sunlight and increased physical activity.
For the majority of people who deal with the disorder, S.A.D. takes the form of generally mild depression. Symptoms can include reduced energy, decreased participation in activities of interest or hobbies, and general loss of interest in things that had previously been enjoyable. However, in some more severe cases, S.A.D. can be substantial enough to cause severe depression. This depression can be powerful enough to increase the chances of suicide or possibly even severe enough to require hospitalization. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these mid-winter blues. However, if the effects are too far-reaching, Orlando Thrive Therapy can provide a professional counselor in Orlando to initiate proven treatment methods.
One simple remedy is spending more time in the sunshine. It is believed that even a ten-minute exposure to the sun can help brighten a person's mood and overall well-being. There is also evidence supporting that an increase in exercise and physical activity can help stamp out those winter blues. Even on the coldest of days, simply bundling up and going outside for a short walk or playtime with the kids or the dog can improve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is also quite beneficial to put extra effort into activities that tend to bring happiness and joy. Getting together with family or friends, going out to a movie, working on a favorite hobby, or just having lunch with someone you like spending time with can all help raise a person’s spirits. It is essential to avoid withdrawing from everyday activities and lying around with nothing to focus on but feeling blue.
If winter causes feelings of sadness and loneliness, it is okay. But if your winter blues or those of a family member or loved one are severe enough to affect everyday life negatively, reach out to a trusted physician or consult a professional counselor. There are various treatment options available with the assistance of trusted mental health professionals to help keep S.A.D. from ruining your life. These options include counseling, a variety of light treatments, and even pharmaceutical therapies. Visit orlandothrivetherapy.com to schedule a session with a counselor in Orlando to begin treating Seasonal Affective Disorder and start feeling normal again.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.