The Winter "Blues"
Feeling more “blue” recently? More low energy, fatigued, or “lazy” than you were a few months ago? Having more trouble than usual getting out of bed? Notice yourself feeling particularly disappointed when you walk out of work and realize the sun is already setting? The symptoms you’re experiencing could be related to the season change, and yep, Southern Californians can be affected by the winter “blues” just as people in Northern parts of the country are. Contrary to popular belief, these changes are more related to the change in light outside, rather than the temperature. As the days get shorter, some people experience significant decreases in their mood. If you notice a seasonal pattern to your mood changes, and specifically experience recurrent depressive symptoms that begin in the fall but then get better in the spring each year, you may meet the criteria for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of mood disorder that involves depressive symptoms which occur in a seasonal pattern. SAD is more likely to go unnoticed in our area of the country, where we may be less likely to make the connection between mood and season change. We think it’s important to bring awareness to this condition, as it can be helped with therapy. Particularly, behavioral strategies that help keep you accountable with staying on a schedule, fighting the urge to hibernate, staying social, and getting out into the much needed sunlight are highly effective.
Interested in learning more? We like this article which details other ways to fight the winter blues.
By Annie Garrett PsyD