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Q&A: Winter blues

| Healthy You | Mental Health | Wellness

woman using SAD light and computer

Tips to lift your spirits when you're feeling blue

It is common to feel sad or depressed during the winter. Between the holidays and the weather, there are plenty of reasons that you might not be feeling your best.

For some people, depression strikes annually during the winter months. If you have felt down during the past few winters but find that your spirits lift during spring and summer, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Anyone can get SAD, but it happens most often in women, people who live in areas where winter daylight hours are short, or people who have a relative with SAD. Symptoms include feeling sad, moody, or anxious; gaining weight; and losing interest in your regular activities.

Your doctor can do a mental health assessment to help you manage your feelings. In many cases, SAD can be treated with light therapy, where you sit in front of a special light in the morning. This works by resetting your biological clock.

If light therapy doesn’t help lift your mood, talk to your doctor. You may have a more serious form of depression or another health condition.