One of the wonderful things about living in Virginia is that we get to experience all of the seasons during the fall and winter months. As I’m sure you have noticed over the past couple of weeks, going from an 60-degree day to a 40-degree day in a matter of hours has us thinking about whether we should wear sandals or break out those winter boots. As the seasons change, so do our emotions. Growing up, my grandmother would call it the “Winter Blue”; however, she wasn’t completely wrong. We now understand this low mood during the fall and winter as Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD”.
The good news, normally SAD resolves during the spring and summer months and there are things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones. It’s often recommended to consult with your doctor before starting any vitamin/medication regime. Nevertheless, Vitamin D has been shown to be helpful for individuals living with Vitamin D deficiency which has similar features of SAD. Other treatment options are light therapy, individual therapy, exercise, changing up your routine or creating a routine, challenging negative thoughts, and anti-depressant medication.
There are times in our life when we will experience low moods and lack of motivation; however, it becomes an issue when it starts to affect our daily lives. If you have been experiencing a lack of energy, socially withdrawing, issues with sleep, and moodiness for more than six months, it may be time to have a conversation with your doctor or seek a therapist. Remember that things will take time to get better and although it’s hard to ask for help, it is available to you. Locally, Your Path Counseling Center offers individual and couples therapy. There are also other local providers along with the Community Services Board.
For more information on SAD, see https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder#part_6696