Shedding Some Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • January 24, 2020
  • |Quartz
|
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Midwest winters are no joke. Temperatures plummet, snow accumulates everywhere and days are shorter. While others might shy away from such harsh conditions, we Midwesterners brave the cold months with a sense of pride. But, this doesn’t mean we’re immune to the effects of winter from a behavioral health standpoint.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that generally sets in during fall and lasts throughout the winter primarily due to longer periods spent indoors and a lack of sunlight. While spring and summer often relieve the symptoms of SAD, we’re here to tell you there are ways to conquer SAD even in the midst of a Midwestern winter.

Identifying SAD

A common misconception is that SAD is its own disorder. It’s actually a version of depression closely tied to a season rather than other factors. Signs of SAD include –

  • Low energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Social withdrawal

Show SAD who’s boss

Now that we have a better understanding of SAD, it’s time to get down to business and learn how to get the better of SAD.

  • SAD lights. Typically, 20-60 minutes every morning in front of a white florescent light box does the trick and is much more effective than regular indoor lighting.
  • Quartz Behavioral Health. Sometimes we need support to help us get back on track, and Quartz is here to help. Visit QuartzBenefits.com/healthmanagement for more information on our Behavioral Health department.
  • Plan a fun indoor activity. Create slime from scratch. Bake some goodies. Have a dance party. Build a pillow fort. The list goes on, but changing up your routine could bring some joy to being indoors during the winter.
  • Exercise indoors with MobileBack. Our app-based program helps you strengthen you back. With 85 percent of users recommending MobileBack to friends, why wouldn’t you check it out. Visit QuartzBenefits.com/mobileback for more information. You can even track your workout s with Quartz well to earn points.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health, “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” Accessed at nimh.mih.gov on November 11, 2019. 

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Starting in 2020 we have lots of things to get excited about when it comes to Quartz Well –

  • Earn 1 point per day for self-reporting exercises
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  • Take the Health Risk Assessment to find where you’re at in your wellness journey
  • Participate in wellness workshops to earn even more point than before
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