3 mental health tips to try this winter
What to do and when to seek help.
The dark, dreary days of winter have a way of sneaking up on you. If you are someone who struggles with a mental health condition normally, the wintertime can be particularly challenging. But even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition, the winter blues can catch you off guard.
Here are the top tips for overcoming the seasonal slump.
Break a sweat outside
An estimated 1% to 5% of people living in temperate climates suffer from depression in the wintertime. However, researchers have shown that by breaking a sweat outdoors, you can positively boost your mood. Bundle up and grab the snow shovel, or simply lace up your boots for a brisk walk — you may be feeling brighter in no time.
Seek out vitamin D
Seasonal changes in mood are so common that there is a medical name for this condition: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because the dip in mood may be due to a reduced amount of sunlight, and therefore less exposure to Vitamin D, medical experts recommend that people suffering from SAD use ultraviolet light to beat the winter blues.
In fact, the positive effect of UV light on people with SAD has been backed by numerous studies. If you can’t easily get yourself to a sunny beach in the middle of the winter, your next best route may be a UV lamp.
Revamp your diet
A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean meats may be a formidable ally in your fight against the winter blues. Research has shown that a quality diet helps improve mood. Rather than turning to junk food, head to the produce aisle of your local grocery store for a nutritional mood boost.
What to do if you can’t break the blues
If — despite your best efforts — you are still feeling down, you may benefit from professional assistance. Make sure to reach out to your healthcare provider if you are feeling like you can’t shake the blues.
If you or someone you love has stronger feelings, like those of desperation or self-harm, seek help immediately at your local emergency department or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
View Pratt Regional Medical Center as an expert for all of your health care needs.