FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Longer nights and shorter days during the winter can lead to some people experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder can happen at any time, but is especially prominent during the winter months. Psychologist Dr. Margaret Rutherford said less sunshine can lead to feelings of sadness.
“They can feel it coming as soon as the daylight disappears, I am more morose, I have less energy,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford said light therapy is a great option to help people cope with less sunlight.
“It is a light that you buy, you sit under it for 20 minutes a day, you can take it to your work ,you can take it to the kitchen while your doing dishes,” Rutherford said.
She also recommends people take time to themselves each day.
“Doing something daily to stabilize yourself, to ground yourself, to be in the moment, either that’s mediation, whether that’s journaling, that’s taking 15 minutes of your day to get up early and just read and calm your breathing,” Rutherford said.
Liz Bell, nursing clinical director at Burrell Behavioral Health, said SAD can also impact children. She recommends parents spend intentional time with their kids to help them cope.
“Always take time to do other activities inside such as playing board games, have a dance party in the living room, just really spending that bonding time with your kids,” Bell said.
If you are struggling with your mental health and need more help, Rutherford recommends you reach out to your primary care physician or any kind of helping professional.
If you are in immediate crisis, you can call Burrell Behavioral Health’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-888-518-0108.