It’s dark and wet out there – no wonder you have the blues. When the winter rains and dark days return, many people experience a change in mood — and not of the happy, joyous type.
“Everyone goes through an adjustment when the weather changes, especially in a place where the weather prevents us from going outside and getting exercise,” said Allison Taylor, a licensed clinical social worker from Samaritan Mental Health.
Generally, we experience the winter blues as an overall decrease in energy and increase in stress. We also participate less in social and physical activities.
Most of us will adjust in time. For others, the winter blues get in the way of work, school or relationships. That’s a good time to call your primary care provider and share your concerns.
To understand your own seasonal pattern, maintain an awareness of your stress and mood over time. “We remember the highs and lows but not the overall pattern,” said Taylor. “Better self-knowledge helps you understand if you are going through your normal seasonal adjustment or something more.”
Taylor offers these tips to help cope with the winter blues:
- Continue to eat a healthy diet
- Exercise for 30 minutes at a time, three times a week
- Take time daily to quiet your mind
- Go outside as often as you can
- Continue social engagements
- Acknowledge your moods and emotions as they occur