As the days get shorter, the shortest being December 21st, 2020, which marks the first day of winter, in the Northern Hemisphere, and closer to home here in the great mitten-shaped state of Michigan. And with less sunlight, and less than ideal temperatures, those winter blues, as known as “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), are knocking at your door ready to visit.
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), SAD is defined as: “mood changes (that) begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.”
NIMH identifies the following as signs and/or symptoms of SAD:
- Oversleeping (hypersomnia)
- Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
So, if you find yourself showing one or two of these symptoms during the winter months, I have just the thing. I call it: The Whole Hand Method!
I know, I know your saying to yourself, ‘What is with whole hand thing Jessica?’ Truth telling time: I like to be playful, and when reciting a list that can be counted on one hand, I exclaim: “It’s a whole hand method!
Are you ready? Here we go!
- Sit in the sun more (whenever you get the chance)
- Move during the day (as much as you can, any way you can)
- Connect with others (get social – and we’re not talking the media kind)
- Keep a healthy sleep routine (don’t over count those sheep)
- Reach out for help (talk-therapy can provide relief)
The most important thing to remember, and something you can ‘count on’ is that SAD (for the most part), just like the winter blues, is temporary.