FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – Longer nights and shorter days in winter can cause symptoms of. to lead Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The seasonal affective disorder can occur at any time, but is particularly pronounced in the winter months. psychologist Dr. Margaret Rutherford said, less sunshine can lead to sadness.
“You can feel it coming as soon as the daylight goes, I’m grumpier, I have less energy,” said Rutherford.
Rutherford said light therapy is a great option to help people cope with less sunlight.
“It’s a light you buy, you sit under it for 20 minutes a day, you can take it to work, you can take it to the kitchen when you do the dishes,” Rutherford said.
She also recommends taking time for yourself each day.
“To do something every day to stabilize yourself, to ground yourself, to be in the moment, either that’s mediation, whether it’s journaling, that means that you need 15 minutes of your day to get up early and just catch your breath read and calm down, ”said Rutherford.
Liz Bell, clinical director of nursing at Burrell Behavioral Health, said SAD can affect children as well. She advises parents to consciously spend time with their children to help them cope.
“Always make time for other activities indoors like playing board games, throwing a dance party in the living room, and just spending that bonding time with your kids,” said Bell.
If you are struggling with your mental health and need more help, Rutherford recommends reaching out to your primary care doctor or other helping professional.
If you are in an acute crisis, you can call Burrell Behavioral Health’s Crisis hotline around the clock at 1-888-518-0108.