Mental health experts weigh in on dealing with the “winter blues”

LINCOLN, Neb. (COLN) – The holidays tend to fly by and before we know it it’s back to everyday life. But during these next couple of months, it can be hard for people to find the motivation to go out or be sure they’re taking care of their mental health.

During the darker, colder months, cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, may be on the rise.

“When it gets to 9 degrees below zero like it was last week, all my patients say, ‘I just can’t do anything, I’m just not able to function to my core,'” said Dr. Stacy Waldron. a psychologist at Bryan Health.

As many as 11 million people may be affected by this disorder, and even for a short time, experts recommend therapy as an option.

“I’ve heard so many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t really need therapy, I can just pull myself up by the bootstraps and be fine,'” said Dr. Waldron. “But if they had a sore throat, they’d go to the doctor in seconds.”

Other suggestions for getting through this time of year include getting natural light, getting enough sleep, and activities with friends.

This is also a time of family gatherings that can be difficult for those dealing with the loss of a loved one or an anniversary of a death.

“As long as the weather is cooperating, I think it’s really important for people to get out and meet other people, have face-to-face contact,” said Sydnie Smith at Tabitha Health.

That’s why Tabitha offers group therapy sessions to help sufferers cope.

“It provides other types of support that family members can’t provide because they’re grieving too,” Smith said. “It’s different when you can talk to other people outside of your family and offer other perspectives.”

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