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Recent Posts From Our Health Experts

Beating the Winter Blues

Beating the Winter Blues

I’ll admit, winter has never been my favorite season. I would gladly trade cold weather, less sunlight and getting sick more often for sunny days at the beach. The “winter blues” is a common term used to describe the increased sadness, lower energy and reduced interest in enjoyable activities many people feel during the winter months. For many people, these symptoms are minor and manageable with a few lifestyle changes, but for others, they become more intense and may develop into seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. Most often, symptoms are prominent in winter months but can follow other patterns as well. Symptoms of SAD include:

Depressed mood
Less interest in activities
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Being more fidgety and restless or more slowed down than usual
Fatigue
Reduced ability to think or concentrate
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
One or several of these symptoms may occur for short periods of time. If you notice these symptoms becoming more persistent and affecting your relationships, work or school activities, you will want to actively take steps to manage them.

Ways to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder
The cold weather and shorter days of winter are inevitable. The effects of seasonal affective disorder do not have to be. Take steps today to manage symptoms and allow yourself to thrive during all seasons of the year.

Get Moving
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to tackle depressive symptoms. It releases endorphins, improves physical health and can provide a sense of accomplishment.

Reach for Healthy Foods
Foods that are high in whole grains, protein and healthy fats provide energy and boost your mood. Sometimes this can be challenging. Some indulgence is okay (maybe even needed), but allowing large portions or high-sugar foods to become the basis of your diet will only worsen symptoms of SAD.

Stay Connected
When depression sets in, reaching out to friends and family can be daunting. Ironically, it is also one of the best ways to improve your symptoms. Having lunch with a friend, texting a family member or joining a book club are all ways to stay connected when sunlight and outdoor activities may be limited.

Try Bright Light Therapy (BLT)
BLT involves sitting in front of a light box for 30-60 minutes a day to mimic exposure to sunlight. Light boxes can be found for as little as $70 and do not require any special training to use.

Consider Professional Help
Both medication and mental health therapy have been shown to be effective at reducing the intensity of SAD symptoms.

Be Proactive
Because SAD follows a regular pattern, it is easier to anticipate the onset of symptoms than it is for other types of depression. While this pattern may not be exact, beginning these management strategies during the months leading up to the typical onset of symptoms will reduce the intensity and distress caused by symptoms.

Take an Online Screening
If you or someone you care about are concerned about Seasonal Affective Disorder or other mental health conditions, take our online screening now. Many screenings are available. All screenings are confidential and provide information to help you determine your next steps.

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Grieving During the Holidays

Grieving During the Holidays

The grief bubbles up unbidden. I never know when or where it will surface, but inevitably it comes when I least want it. My mom contracted COVID-19 six months ago. She nearly died of complications from the virus. The anticipatory grief I experienced was different from...

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8 Great Reasons to Try Acupuncture

8 Great Reasons to Try Acupuncture

Over my 19 years of practicing complementary medicine, since earning a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine, the most common question I hear from people is: “Will acupuncture treat my _________?” Fill in the blank. About 90% of the time the answer is YES! Acupuncture...

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How to Break a Sugar Habit

How to Break a Sugar Habit

Have you ever wondered why once you eat something sweet, you keep craving more sugar? It’s not a coincidence; sugar addiction is real! If sweets are getting in your way of achieving your health goals, you CAN break the habit! In today’s society, we eat ‘dessert’...

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What Can I Do to Improve My Sleep?

What Can I Do to Improve My Sleep?

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? It’s Sunday afternoon and while sitting in my recliner watching television, I end up taking a nap over two hours. Why am I not able to fall asleep at my normal bedtime hour? I had to work late and ended up eating later than...

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