Avoiding the "winter blues" - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Avoiding the "winter blues"

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Even though the winter weather is here, the official start of winter is this weekend. And for some, the season brings depression, or the winter blues, but there are some simple steps to improve your outlook. 

Dr. Lindsey Duca, a Meriter Health psychologist, says Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression that affects people at a certain time of the year.

"It will happen late in the fall and go through towards the Spring," Dr. Duca said.

According to Dr. Duca, SAD affects more people in the northern states. She also said symptoms tend to be the same as normal depression, but there's a seasonal component.

"What you'll notice is your mood gets lower, you might be less interested in doing things that usually feel pretty fun, you may notice a change in your sleep schedule, you may notice a change in your appetite, and if it gets quite serious, you may start noticing that your isolated, you may notice that you feel hopeless, you may even notice thoughts about suicide, and definitely that's the time you want to seek professional help," Dr. Duca said.

The first thing Dr. Duca said you should do is be proactive. She said this is particularly true if you know your mood tends to take a dip in the winter. Dr. Duca said planning ahead can be an excellent strategy to combat winter blues.

The following are some tips from Dr. Duca:

  • Make an extra effort to connect with people who lift you up
  • Build in positive experiences when you can
  • Move your body
  • Don't forget the importance of sunlight
  • Don't wait for motivation
  • Seek help from a professional if needed
Dr. Duca joined us on 27 News at 5 on Tuesday.

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