As the days get shorter and darker in the winter months, many people begin to experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. “This mood disorder is linked to seasonal changes in light and is marked by periods of depression, fatigue, poor eating habits, mood swings and social avoidance. These symptoms typically begin during the late fall, as the daylight hours shorten, and continue through the winter months as we begin to see more gray skies, less sunlight and cold weather that keeps people indoors,” said Suzanne Clarke, M.D. at HSHS Good Shepherd Family Health.
HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital supports the following tips provided by American Psychiatric Association to help overcome SAD this winter.
· Get outside: Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.
· Light up your life: Whether the forecast is sunny or cloudy, open the blinds or drapes throughout the house. Being able to look outside and take in natural light can provide an instant boost to your spirits.
· Watch what you eat: Avoid foods that are high in sugar or fat and limit alcohol consumption. Instead eat protein, vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates for a nutritional energy boost.
· Practice stress management: Learn techniques to manage your stress better. Unmanaged stress can lead to depression, overeating or other unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
· Surround yourself with your favorite people: Friends and family can provide warmth, strength and stimulation to keep you feeling positive through the winter months.
If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, please consult a physician. For more information about SAD please refer to: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder.
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.