Emerson Family Medicine in Maynard welcomes a new physician to the practice, Dr. Amy Forrer, who cares for both adults and children. She is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and is pleased to share these tips with the community to help families beat the winter blues.
Are the colder, darker days causing you to have a mood shift? Many people who experience winter months in New England may experience “winter blues,” but they should not hinder your ability to enjoy life. People experiencing more than mild winter blues may be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that coincides with seasonal change in mood and behavior. Most people experience the fall/winter onset and notice improvement during the spring/summer. Symptoms similar to depression include: depressed mood, lack of interest, fatigue, feeling guilty, hopeless, and not participating in activities you used to enjoy. People with SAD may also notice increased sleep, cravings for starchy and sugary food, and weight gain.
Here are a few things you can do to help improve your mood between now and spring:
- Get plenty of natural light by taking a quick walk outside.
- Arrange your home or office so that you sit next to a window as much as possible.
- Exercise can boost your mood with natural endorphins, try for at least 30 minutes most days a week.
- Recognize that social interactions make you feel better and will help you feel less isolated and sad. As hard as it may be, reach out to an old friend or meet someone new.
- Avoid the sugar cravings that lead to decreased energy and moodiness, try for a well- balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Keep stress in check and seek ways to stay balanced so stress does not lead to depressed feelings.
Never hesitate to reach out to your health care provider for help. If your symptoms worsen or concern you, ask a health professional for help. Treatments that may be offered include specialized light therapy, counseling, and medications.
Dr. Amy Forrer with Emerson Family Medicine, Maynard’s first family medicine practice, provided this information. To make an appointment for you, your child, or other family members, please visit www.emersonhospital.org/maynard or call Emerson Family Medicine at 978-318-1870.