Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

In Colorado, we are lucky to have many days of sunshine, even in the depths of winter. But sometimes a few cloudy days in a row or a bone-chilling cold front can make us want to stay inside. We’ve all been there. It’s just too cold to go out. While it may be comforting to chill on the sofa all day, if one day turns to two or three and you’re still feeling down, here are some ways to shake those wintertime blues.

Get some exercise!

Even if you just walk down the street and back, the brisk air combined with getting the blood flowing can work wonders for your mood. Or stay in your zone by building a snowman in your yard or throwing a few snowballs around!

Get a change of scenery! Take a drive around town, find a nice spot by the river or lake and take in the wonders of mother nature. We are blessed with amazing, uplifting scenery any time of the year, even if you’re viewing it from the warmth of your car. Plus, a change of scenery can help to clear your mind, allowing space for some positive thoughts to sneak in.

Reach out for support! Call a friend or family member, even if it is just to check in with them. You might be surprised to find a phone call or Facetime chat is just as uplifting for them as it is for you. Or why not meet up a friend for coffee? If you give it a try, you may find it is easier than you think to make a new friend.

Volunteer!

By spending even a few short hours giving your time to others, you will feel refreshed and notice a great boost in your mood. The Town of Estes Park is a treasure trove of volunteer opportunities. They take volunteers at the museum, the visitors center, public works and even the police department. Peruse the opportunities online or call the office that sparks your interest. Another place to find volunteer opportunities is the volunteer warehouse section of the Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center.

Try something new! Getting out there and doing something different can be energizing and offers a new perspective. Need some suggestions?

Check out the First Friday Art Groove!

It’s held the first Friday of every month and features art shows, music, food and even Trolly Drop Stops. It’s the perfect place to catch up with old friends or meet new people. And the best part is, it’s free! Art Groove informaton>>

If you’re stuck inside, shake up your old habits and routine and try something new, like making a recipe you haven’t tried yet, breaking out a puzzle, learning a new song or trying out a new craft. It’s scientifically proven that being interested in an activity and feeling like you accomplished something makes us all feel better about ourselves. Give it a try!

Even with all these opportunities available for you to get out, engage, and shake those wintertime blues, there are times feeling down just won’t go away.

How to know that it’s more than just the blues:

  • Feeling sad or down almost every day
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Not leaving the house for several days in a row
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty with sleep or appetite
  • Feeling hopeless

If you find that you’re not able to shrug those wintertime blues, it may be an indicator of depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your symptoms or schedule an appointment with a therapist. For more information about the services SummitStone Health Partners provides in Estes Park, call (970) 586-9105 or visit www.summitstonehealth.org.

If you or a loved one are in crisis, SummitStone’s Crisis Service Center is open 24/7/365 at 1217 Riverside Ave. in Fort Collins. You can also call (970) 494-4200 or text TALK to 38255 anytime.

Article by: Abby Callan, LPC LAC, Program Manager of Adult Outpatient Services for South County at SummitStone Health Partners. Abby is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Addictions Counselor and is passionate about her work in community behavioral health and maternal mental health

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