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If the cold and dreary winter gets you down, how to fight the blues

Healthier Together: Fighting Midwinter Blues
Posted at 1:32 PM, Feb 01, 2023

Cold weather, snowstorm after snowstorm and the void in gatherings after the holidays are some of the reasons many people struggle with January and February, experiencing something you could call the midwinter blues.

Dr. Dan Meltzer Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross Blue Shield said, “It’s really pretty common this time of year. Sort of January, February-ish. ”

Meltzer says the midwinter blues are similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, a more severe depression.

“You know between the shorter days, a little less sunshine, a little less daylight, cold weather which pushes us inside. You know many of the exciting things we like to do outside affect our mood,” said Meltzer.

He said to watch out for these key symptoms or signs:

  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Fatigue
  • Sluggish
  • Insomnia
  • Unmotivated

“Those symptoms can come across as sadness loneliness or fatigue or feeling kind of sluggish, maybe not sleeping as well not feeling as motivated,” said Meltzer.

Meltzer said self-care should be a priority right now.

“Exercise is really important for our mood. It gets our energy up. Helps us feel better both physically and emotionally. Sleep is also critically important. And for most of us that’s 8 hours. That’s not 6 hours, not 4 hours. There’s no badge of honor for sleeping less. ”

He adds a good diet can do wonders for your overall health, and spending time outside in the sunshine when you can, can really help boost your mood.

“Midwinter blues – energy’s low, got to get out, tired of the cold weather, we can address that. It’s typically short-term and there are things that we can do,” said Meltzer.

He says anything longer or deeper, you should reach out for further help. Your primary care provider is a good place to start.