Mental Health: Feeling down? Expert shares ways to manage seasonal depression

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 10:40 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Many head into the new year looking towards a fresh start.

However, 2022 not only carries a new variant from the unrelenting coronavirus, but for Nevadans rent is also rising faster than anywhere else in the U.S, inflation continues and it is tax season.

“Something like grief, familial stresses or work stresses or tax stresses, it’s going to make it all that harder to function,” said Kerstin Trachok, clinical director at Thrive Wellness in Reno.

She says many of these challenges are already hard to manage on their own, add to that a mood disorder triggered by the current season and it can really take a toll on someone’s mental health.

“If we’re going through a tough time, we’re blaming ourselves, you know, saying negative language ‘I’m being lazy’ or ‘I’m not doing enough’ when really, you’re being affected by this change in the season and a lot of stress and pressure from other things that could be happening, “ said Trachok. “It’s very easy for them to not realize this is something clinical.”

She’s referring to what’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, a form of depression triggered by a lack of sunlight, which impacts our levels of Serotonin, the feel-good hormone.

To help trigger healthy brain activity, Trachok recommends light therapy.

“It has shown to be very impactful and helpful for Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can get a sun lamp that you can set around and it will actually improve your vitamin D intake levels or you can get supplements to help with that as well,” said Trachok. .

You can also add some outdoor activities to your routine and last but not least, seek help.

“It is really important that if you notice that your day-to-day functions have taken an impact that you go receive help,” said Trachok. “That can either be in the form of talk therapy or seeing a psychiatrist to possibly get some medication.”

Another tip is to make a mindful effort and focus on the tools that will help you navigate the difficult territories 2022 brings, and remember it is okay to not be okay.

SAD symptoms should start getting better by Spring.

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