Winter Blues and Other Stress

Winter Blues and Other Stress

Monday morning was dark and rainy.  The melting snow added to the problems as flooding started to spread across parts of Connecticut.  It seemed like just about everyone I was talking with was having a rough day.

Was it just because it was a rainy Monday, or were there other things in play, like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?  The latest Patient Resource File explores SAD and what people can do about it.

Friends have suggested that I might suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder since I’m much more likely to be feeling blue in the winter time, and it seems to be exacerbated on cloudy days.  So, I try to get as much sunlight as I can in the winter time, and even once experimented with light therapy.

However, my winter blues seem to be fairly short lived and don’t seem to affect my professional or social life, so I haven’t sought professional help to deal with it. 

In the Patient Resource File, Dr. Vicki Carter, on-site behavioral health director at the Community Health Center of New London talks about some of the things she considers when talking with patients:

“If they mention they feel depressed because the days are short or because of the weather, or if they’re eating more and craving carbohydrates, it could be SAD. If they’re experiencing an extreme stressor, like divorce or job loss, their depression or anxiety could be situational. If they’ve been feeling down for a while, it could be clinical depression. Panic attacks and jitters could be signs of general anxiety. A lot of factors come into play, which is why we recommend seeking advice from a professional who can rule out other mental health conditions.”

The article goes on to talk about things that can be done to beat the winter blues as  well was when to seek professional help and what you can do to make such a meeting as effective as possible.

In spite of the dreary rain yesterday, I had a pretty good day until my commute home.  The flooding turned the parkway into a parking lot and as I sat in my car, I received an email about “mindfulness based meditation and stress reduction”.  The half hour commute, turned into three hours was stressful so I’ll add mindfulness based meditation and stress reduction on to my list of topics to investigate as I join with patients and staff of CHC in seeking ways to live happier, healthier and more productively.

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