Steinbach’s mental health worker said there is a time when more people start showing signs of depression.
Cheryl Dyke is a mental health clinician in Southern Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. According to her, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression associated with seasonal changes.
Dyke said SAD affects about 15 per cent of Canadians. Most of them report only mild cases, while 2-3 percent report severe SAD cases. Dick says it is more common in women than men and is most common in young adults.
Dyck says there are many reasons why people feel depressed this time of year. She points out that it doesn’t help that the days are getting shorter and colder. What’s more, the Christmas season puts pressure on everything and increases expectations to be “happier, better and brighter,” Dyke said.
Most people who suffer from SAD start noticing symptoms around this time in the fall, Dyke said, and they continue into the spring or summer. However, she points out that, although less common, the opposite can also occur, where you start experiencing a depressed mood in the spring or early summer, and only begin to feel better in the fall or winter.
Additionally, Dyke explains that shorter days and less sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin, which can lead to symptoms of depression. She also says seasonal changes can throw off the balance of melatonin levels in your body, which can affect your sleep patterns and mood.
There are signs that can help you recognize if you may be struggling with SAD. Dyke said signs include noticing a persistent feeling of low mood or a loss of enjoyment or interest in normal daily activities. Other signs include irritability, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and low self-esteem. Other warning signs include frequent tearing, feeling stressed or anxious, decreased sex drive, and decreased sociability. Dyck says if you’re less active than usual, feel lethargic and sleepy during the day, and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, those can also be signs. Other indicators include decreased concentration and increased appetite, especially cravings for carbohydrates.
Dyck also would like to offer some suggestions on how to prevent SAD this fall. Standard treatments include phototherapy, talking to city council members and taking medication, she said. But she says there are many other ways to boost her mood.
One example she gives is building personal resilience. This is a combination of looking after one’s mental health, including good physical health, good relationships, and social networks, as well as envisioning a future that includes purpose and intention that gives meaning to one’s life. is. Dyke also encourages people to spend time with happy friends.
“It sounds silly, but moods are contagious,” she says. “So surround yourself with positive people and become aware again of how your mood correlates with who you’re with.”
Dyke also encourages eating healthy and feeding your body with nutrients that provide healthy energy. She also says it’s important to celebrate when things go well. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, she says, focus on what went right that day. Dyck says this can be as simple as being satisfied that her tire didn’t blow out on her commute. And she says you should end your day by writing down three things that went well, no matter how small.
Other tips include being physically active. This is a great mood stabilizer and contributes to improved health, Dyke says. If regular exercise isn’t in your habit, Dyck says you can start small by going for a brisk walk to get some fresh air. Being outdoors can make a big difference, Dyck says, but even just being inside the house and getting some sunlight can help.
“Sit in a sunny spot, open the curtains, and try to get some natural light as early as possible in the morning,” adds Dyke.
It’s a cloudy time of year, so Dyck recommends taking advantage of the sunny days.
Another of her tips is to make a list of things that bring you joy. This list can include very simple ideas such as using your favorite mug, lighting a candle, listening to music, reading, or knitting.
If you’re feeling particularly down and nothing seems to bring you happiness, Dyke recommends remembering what used to bring you joy and trying to add a little of that to your day.
Dyck said the mental health and addictions number for those in need of assistance is 1-888-310-4593 and the crisis number is 1-888-617-7715. You can also visit Steinbach at 450 Main Street on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There, you can speak with a walk-in clinician for a one-time appointment. This service is available to persons 16 years of age or older.
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