When 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 HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine Physician David Bereda, DO.  
 
HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine - O’Fallon supports the following tips provided by the 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. Dr. Bereda is accepting new patients at HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine - O’Fallon, which is located at 1512 N. Green Mount Rd., Suite 108, in O’Fallon, Illinois. Call 618-624-5510 to schedule an appointment. For more information about SAD please refer to: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder . 

Media Contact

Lori Harlan

Divisional Director of Marketing
HSHS Medical Group
Office: (217) 321-9292
Cell: (217) 321-9292
Lori.Harlan@hshs.org

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