Brand SpotlightWellness Wednesday


Feeling sad? You are not alone

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 16:51:45-05

If you’re feeling the winter blues right now, it might actually be something more. Season Affective Disorder or SAD is easy for an individual to overlook. But research has shown time and again it’s not only real, but it can be mapped.

Denise Lash, Director of Behavioral Health for Intermountain Healthcare said, "People who are more prone to getting seasonal affective disorder will notice a pattern that when the seasons change, and especially when the sunlight is less that their mood is lower, they feel somewhat depressed.”

Utah’s winters provide the perfect environment for SAD to develop.

“So you don't really find this in New Mexico, but you will find this in Utah or Michigan or Maine,” said Lash. “The further you get away from the equator, the higher the prevalence rate of seasonal affective disorder."

With SAD, from mid-fall through winter, you may feel the symptoms of depression.

“Maybe some loss of interested activity, poor energy, certainly, maybe some disruptions in sleep or changes in appetite,” said Lash.

If that happens to you, the good news is there are some non-medical interventions that can help, like getting outside when the weather and air quality allow.

Lash said, “So this could be a walk around the block, I actually knew somebody who was able to spend, you know, usually one day a weekend going snowboarding, and that was huge for her to be outside getting exercise.”

If you can’t get outside because of work, weather, or disability, there’s another simple approach.

“What I like about this intervention is that it's really simple. So you buy this specific light therapy box, you plug it in in the morning while you're getting ready, the brightness of that 10,000 Lux supposed to mimic the brightness of the sun.”

Lash says they cost about $30 or $40. And for intervention number three…

“This is a pretty classic strategy just for helping with depression, in general. Planning things to look forward to and then doing them, and you want to play on that. Because that gives you that helps boost your mood, because you're looking forward to it. And then when you do it, that boosts your mood because you are doing it,” said Lash.

Remember, if you are struggling right now, you can all call 988 for help any time.