Experts offer tips for staving off winter gloom

Posted at 9:53 PM, Dec 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 23:53:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY – As cold weather approaches, some people find themselves feeling more depressed, and FOX 13 News’ Todd Tanner has some tips from experts on how to fight off the gloom that can come with winter.

Seasonal affective disorder kicks into effect in many people's lives when winter comes around. Steve Havertz, Executive Director of the Family Counseling Center, says this happens because when days get shorter, people are exposed to less sunlight.

“Feeling hopeless, helpless, despair, concentration problems, lack of energy, irritability, those things can come on, and they can get worse during the winter months,” he said.

So what do you do when you're feeling blue and you can't control the amount of sunlight you're exposed to?

“There are light therapies that actually people can utilize to help them get through the seasonal depression,” Havertz said.

Andrea Hood with the Utah Department of Health says exercising is another way to help combat the winter blues.

“Especially cardio exercise is great,” Hood said. “Relaxation and mindfulness, meditation, you can read self-help books on cognitive behavioral therapy.”

Both Havertz and Hood say, while counseling and therapy can help, support from loved ones is important.

“Unfortunately, in the past, we've had this mentality that depression is a weakness, and depression is not a weakness, it's a sickness,” Havertz said. “And we need to understand that depression can be treated just like any other illness can be treated.”