Local Lifestyle

Mindful Moments: Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

by Jennifer Schetrompf

Many of us have been there. As the dark, dreary days of winter arrive our “get up and go” seems to have exited stage left.

My spirit animal who seems sluggish on a good day, tends to morph into a hybrid creature who wants to hibernate like a bear and move with the blazing speed of a sloth who caught a ride on the back of a turtle.

Will there EVER be light again? Will my hands and feet ever thaw out? Couldn’t the leaves have lasted a little longer? These are just a few of the thoughts that generate from my winter blues. But how can we tell if our winter blues are speed skating toward Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

One of the major differences between winter blues and SAD is that winter blues typically do not hinder our ability to enjoy life. Winter blues are temporary and should not affect our ability to truly function throughout the day. While we may feel down and out, we are still able to complete necessary daily tasks, such as going to work or school and completing household duties, etc.

Some of us may experience a serious mood change during the winter months, often due to their being less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression that usually lifts during spring and summer.

SAD Symptoms can include the following, though not everyone may have the same symptoms: Sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings, feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism, feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, fatigue and decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, changes in weight, thoughts of death or suicide.

So, what are some ways we can practice selfcare and combat our winter blues? Routine can help!

Quick Tips for a Winter Morning Routine:

-Set an alarm with uplifting music

-Use a lamp to mimic sunrise

-A few minutes of yoga or meditation

-Drink a glass of water

-Make a warm breakfast

-Make hot tea or coffee

-Take a warm shower

If you feel that yourself or someone else is at risk of harming themselves or another, please call 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

For a more comprehensive list of community mental health resources, please email us at alexis@morganpartnership.org.