The cold season may be affecting some people more than others.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically occurs in the beginning of the fall or winter and subsides by the spring. It occurs more commonly in northern climates, where there are prolonged winters and sunlight is reduced.
Agnes Olszewska, a registered psychologist with Primary Care Network in Fort Sask, said symptoms can include fatigue, loss of interest in activity and increased sleep.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), adults are at a higher risk of SAD than teenagers and children. It occurs more frequently in women, with some research showing they are nine times more likely to be diagnosed than men.
"It is very common," added Olszewska. "It's a frequent presenting issue that we see at the clinic here."
For people diagnosed with SAD, counselling, medication and light therapy are possible methods to overcome it.
"It's always good to talk to your doctor first. They can make an assessment or they can also refer to us for evaluation and further treatment options."
According to the CMHA, some tips to ease winter SAD include:
  • Spend more time outdoors during the day.
  • Try to arrange the spaces you spend time in to maximize sunlight exposure.
  • Keep curtains open during the day.
  • Build physical activity into your lifestyle to relieve stress.
  • Book vacation time during the colder months to break up the winter.
  • Try to resist the carbohydrate and sleep cravings.

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