A case of the 'winter blues' could be a sign of seasonal depression
Let's face it, life can be messy, but if the weather's got you down for longer than just a few days, there might be more to it.
A series of dreary days won't seem to go away and could be impacting your mental health.
"There's not a lot of light, there's not a lot of warm days, sunny days, it's rainy it's gray," Lyn Owen, a licensed counselor, said.
These gloomy days can change your mood and in some cases even cause depression.
Owen said this is called "Seasonal Affective Disorder," ironically initialed "SAD." This is a real type of depression that typically happens during the winter and spring months.
This time of year, Owen is seeing more patients now than she does in the summer.
"They are spending more time outside, they're spending time with their friends and their family, there's a lot of light and sunshine, there's a lot of activities you do in the summer," she explained.
If you notice you are oversleeping, your appetite changes, you gain weight or have low energy, you could be experiencing seasonal depression.
"The first step is saying, I don't like where I am, I don't want to stay this way. If you're there and you don't like where you are right now and think I'm not even myself anymore, yes, go call your doctor," Owen said.
Counselors say you shouldn't shrug off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Owen said to take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.
If you are worried you or a family member is facing this, Owen said do something for yourself every day and celebrate those victories.
"You can take a walk in the rain; grab an umbrella and some rain boots and go. Oddly enough, if you do something like that, you're going to feel better," Owen said.
Treatment for "SAD" may include light therapy, medications and psychotherapy.