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Mental Health in the Winter

For some, the seasons changing can also mean a change in mood and behavior. As the days get shorter and darker this time of year an onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can occur as well. Pile on a global pandemic, travel restrictions and holiday stress and you have a recipe for seasonal depression.

Light therapy is a really interesting way to treat seasonal depression! “Bright light boxes, also called SAD lamps, are designed to produce light that mimics the “light intensity that comes from the sky at sunrise on a clear day,” said Kelly Rohan, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont.” The reduced number of daylight hours is thought to be a trigger for SAD and thus the lamps are used to mimic an early dawn. Experts recommend using a SAD lamp every day at the same time for 30 minutes but be sure consult your doctor as well!

With the advances in technology and a year of social distancing – teletherapy has become a very popular option for many! It may feel a bit strange at first speaking to a stranger over video chat but it is also a really convenient way to help with seasonal depression symptoms. Many health insurances are now offering teletherapy options as well as platforms like Talk Space and Better Health.

In order to counteract the effects of shorter and darker days, try going for a walk in the mornings to soak in a little extra sun! Also, first thing in the morning open all of the currents and blinds in your home to let some natural light in. If you’re schedule allows, wake up a bit earlier during this time of year and enjoy time outside or near natural light reading a book, eating your breakfast or meditating!

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