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Tips for Beating “Winter Blues” & Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Information

Tips for Beating the “Winter Blues”

  • Get adequate sleep (see tips below)
  • Exercise regularly, especially outside
  • Enhance indoor lighting
  • Use a “dawn-simulating” lamp in your bedroom
  • Find a healthy hobby

Tips for Adequate Sleep:

  • Do not go to bed hungry
  • Avoid alcohol near bedtime
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule
  • Address your worries before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
  • Avoid smoking, especially in the evening
  • Do not try to sleep unless you feel sleepy
  • Avoid light-emitting screens before bedtimes such as television and cellphones
  • Sleep only as much as you need to feel rested and then get out of bed

Get professional help right away if the feelings do not go away, worsen, or you experience suicidal thoughts.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Our days are short, winter is long, and sometimes you or those you love may experience the “winter blues.” This is a common term, not a diagnosis, which explains short-term sadness around the holidays or in winter. Sometimes the winter blues are caused by stress over the holidays, missing loved ones, or feeling sad when the celebrations are over. The winter blues are short-lived and typically go away on their own.

However, sometimes symptoms are more severe or do not go away, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be the reason. Typical symptoms of depression may include:

  • Weight increase or decrease
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lethargic
  • Restlessness
  • Thoughts about suicide or death

SAD usually occurs in the fall and winter but can also be experienced in the spring and summer. Depending on which form of SAD an individual has, their symptoms may look different. Fall-onset SAD symptoms may include sleeping a lot, increased appetite (especially for foods high in starch and sugar), and weight gain. Spring-onset SAD symptoms may include sleeping less, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, please make an appointment to see a healthcare provider or mental health professional. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

To schedule an appointment with a provider at Madison Regional Health System, please call 605-256-6551.