By Jennifer Seigworth
Jennifer Seigworth is a North East native. She graduated from Liberty University in Virginia with a Master of Arts in counseling and life coaching in 2015.
Seigworth has over 15 years of experience in advocating for others to learn to cope with everyday life.
“I hope by opening my articles to the public I can have a broader reach to people in need and help them get through events in life that often make one lose hope,” said Seigworth.
Her experience includes working with young children, teens and adults.
Even though we cannot complain much about this winter season, the lack of daylight and need for change in our outdoor activities have their own effects. Often people notice feelings of sadness, tiredness, agitated mood (among other symptoms) due to the lack of vitamin D3 from the sun’s rays.
However, a more serious condition to be aware of is SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Being aware of the symptoms and taking action to combat it will help to prevent further complications.
Erie, PA Network of Care- Behavioral Health suggests the following coping strategies to help make you feel more like yourself:
• Keep a routine-even though the amount of daylight changes in the winter months, keep as much of a normal routine as possible.
• Get exercise-do activities that make you happy, many summer activities can be continued indoors during the winter months. Make the effort to go. You’re worth it.
• Stay connected with friends, family, and meet new people. Staying connected will help to keep you from falling into a cycle of isolation a deeper depressed mood.
• Find the light-if you work at a desk and there is a window available, move closer to it. Get as much natural light as possible during the day. If your job does not allow this, invest in a light therapy box. There are many options ranging from $30 to $299 or more, depending on one’s preference.
• Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed around the same time and rise around the same time each day.
Understand that seasonal affective disorder is a unique form of depression. The symptoms can be alleviated by following most or all of the above habits.
However, ignoring the symptoms will not make them go away. Seeking help from your family doctor is the best first step. Your doctor is aware of your health status and will know where to start with providing the help you need.
Also, your doctor will be able to track patterns in your moods to ensure that your depression is only seasonal due to a decrease in daylight, or if it is a more long-term issue.
For more information, visit https://erie.pa.networkofcare.org/mh/library/article.aspx?hwid=hw169553.