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Shannon and apples

Tips to Minimize the Winter Blues

If you’re anything like me, crisp cool fall air means two things. First, it means apple picking, whipping up a plethora of baked goods, and cozy fall sweaters. On a less charming note, for many of us it also means the creeping in of the winter blues, or even the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder – also known as SAD.

An easy way to differentiate between the Winter Blues and SAD is the severity of symptoms. The Winter Blues may manifest more like sadness and disruption in motivation and irritability.  SAD may be similar, but it is more complex and mirrors Major Depressive Disorder, making it difficult to function or find pleasure in day-to-day life.

Even with the contrasts between the two, there are tips and strategies you can utilize to try to help improve symptoms with both. Taking some of these that are right for you and incorporating them into your self-care routine this fall and winter- along with all the great uplifting, seasonal activities – is a great start to beating the blues.

  1. Keep a good sleep routine and try to get in a habit of waking up early.
  2. Keep active.
  3. Eat healthily- fall is a great time for healthy soups and lots of fall fruits and root vegetables! (Here is a great resource for eating for winter!)
  4. Journal.
  5. Socialize from the start of the season- see your positive friends and/or family.
  6. Keep up with therapy and support groups.
  7. Brighten up your home- never too early to put up the cheery Christmas lights! LED lights specifically tend to be brighter and brightly colored home décor has been thought to have mood boosting effects.
  8. Use light therapy- consider a Light box. (see one here)
  9. Start taking a vitamin D supplement. Ask your primary care doctor for guidance first.
  10. Sit by the fire.

As always, the team at Spectrum Health is here for you if you need additional support.

I wish everyone a great start to their fall and holiday season. To wrap up this post, I wanted to share my favorite feel-good, winter go-to soup recipe! (Find it here).

Shannon Schwarberg

Sr. Program Manager of Special Project Development

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