LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s the time of year when experts say seasonal depression begins. With the weather and recent time change, it is important to give mental health some extra attention.
According to Trey Tucker with Rugged Counseling, it’s important to be in tune with mind and body during this time of year. He says seasonal affective disorder – or SAD – can leave you in a negative mindset. “You notice a dip in energy levels,” Tucker said. “You want to sleep more. you might crave some things like carbohydrates and heavier foods. but generally speaking, it just feels like there’s a weight weighing down on you, and making you move a little slower. maybe a little brain fog going on.”
Tucker said November through February is typically when SAD occurs. Symptoms may start to develop slowly, but as the winter months go on it can get worse. “Get sunlight early in the day if you can,” Tucker said. “If you can’t get natural sunlight, they have light therapy lamps that you can buy for relatively cheaply. move your body, please, please, move your body. the happy chemicals get released from your brain, puts you in a better mood gets your body feeling better.”
Tucker says your circadian rhythm doesn’t automatically adjust to the time change. So making sure you’re getting enough sleep is another tip. “Maybe even look into what time you’re going to bed,” Tucker said. “Because the quality of your sleep actually goes up if you can get in bed before 11. definitely before midnight. and if none of those practical steps work, there’s cognitive behavioral therapy. and that’s the therapy that’s the therapy that’s really the most effective for seasonal depression.”
He reminds people experiencing SAD to not beat themselves about what they’re going through and says talking about it is a great way to help yourself. “Speak it out loud. Because anything that doesn’t come out of your mouth is going to come out of your body in some unhealthy ways,” Tucker said.