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Managing Seasonal Depression

Managing Seasonal Depression

Mental Health Advice for Seasonal Changes

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, many people find themselves feeling a bit down. For some, this is just a “seasonal funk” that will pass after a few weeks. But for others, it may be seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If you think you might be suffering from mood changes this fall, here are a few tips for managing your seasonal depression:

1. Understand why you’re feeling down

If you're feeling depressed, it's essential to understand why you feel this way. SAD is a type of depression that happens at the same time every year. For most people with seasonal depression, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter.

There are severaltheories about why seasonal depression happens. One view is that the change in seasons can affect serotonin levels, a chemical in the brain that affects mood. Another theory is that the reduced level of sunlight in the winter months may play a role. Reaching out to a mental health professional can help determine whether you're experiencing SAD and what coping tool may work for you.

2. Get outside every day, if possible

It can be hard to go from hot, sunny weather to gloomier temperatures as autumn sets in. Eventually, this will lead to winter snow and much more time indoors.

However, exposure to natural light can help improve your mood and energy levels. Even if it's cloudy or raining, spending time outdoors can help. This may mean taking a short walk daily, reading a good book outdoors or simply relaxing outside with a cup of coffee.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining mental health—and a regular exercise routine can help support your overall well-being! Starting slowly and building to a manageable exercise routine is important to keep you feeling motivated.

4. Connect with friends and family

Social support can be vital for people with seasonal depression. With busy school schedules, extracurricular activities and less time to see your loved ones, it's common for us to feel more isolated in the fall and winter. The good news is that there are plenty of seasonal activities to participate in together—or simply a movie night if that's what you're up for.

In addition to making plans to spend time together, remember that talking to loved ones can help you feel better and provide a distraction from negative thoughts. Finding a support group is another excellent way to expand your community and connect.

Mental Health Services in Middleburg Heights

Southwest General's Oakview Behavioral Health Services, in Middleburg Heights, offers therapeutic activities designed to develop self-awareness, self-acceptance and personal responsibility. If you are struggling with your mental health, learn more about our services, and reach out for help today.