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Geese swimming on a half-frozen lake

Keep a Sunny Outlook on Shorter Days

It’s that time of year. The days turn shorter. The sun turns shy, sometimes peeking out for only moments a day. It’s only natural to feel a little blue. This year may look and feel a bit different. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in depression and anxiety. People are juggling and struggling. Many are worried about loved ones and what the future will bring. As winter approaches, people will stay inside, feeling more isolated. This could turn seasonal blues into serious depression.

Seasonal blues or SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical depression that can cause symptoms such as low energy, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest, and feelings of hopelessness. Daylight walks, healthy eating, and a regular sleep schedule can help. Here are a few added tips.

Get motivated and stay moving. Brisk walking, jogging, riding a stationary bike, or any activities that raise your heart rate can also boost your mood. Moderate exercise is safe for most people. But it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program.

Consider light therapy. Although nothing can replace sunshine, some people like to sit 20 to 60 minutes every morning in front of a white fluorescent lightbox. Do not use ultraviolet light, full-spectrum light, heat lamps, or tanning lamps for light therapy.

Discuss your medication options. Antidepressants may offer relief for people who have SAD. If your doctor prescribes an antidepressant, take it as directed. Stopping suddenly could make your depression worse. Your doctor can slowly reduce the dose.

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