Simple Tips for Keeping your Mood up During the Winter Months
Seasonal shifts and changes can be challenging for some people, especially those who struggle with Depression. For some people, they notice a seasonal change in their mood. Historically, this was called Seasonal Affective Disorder. In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) (2013), Seasonal Affective Disorder changed to Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. The underlying symptoms and issues are the same. Typically, it signifies experiencing more depressive symptoms moving from Fall into Winter, although for a minority it can be experiencing increased anxiety from Spring into Summer.
Symptoms will be most noticeable in the fall and winter and may include:
• sleeping too much
• difficulty waking up in the morning
• decreased energy
• eating too much (especially carbohydrates)
• feelings of hopelessness
• withdrawing from social activities
• and decreased sex drive.
At The Catalyst Center, we understand that Depression and seasonal changes in Depression can be challenging. For example, difficulty waking up in the morning can be especially difficult for parents of small children, particularly if children are still night-waking. Recommended treatment is quite similar to treatment for Depression, including:
• Anti-Depressant Medication
Seasonal patterns of Depression are believed to be caused by changes in our exposure to light. For example, in the winter time we experience less light than we do in the summer time. This has lead to treatment recommendations of:
• Maintaining a regular sleeping and eating schedule
• More time outside
• Bright light therapy
• Dawn simulation lights
In my experience as a therapist, I have witnessed significant change in those pursuing bright light therapy. Prices for light boxes have decreased in the past few years, and light boxes have gotten smaller. I typically recommend people search online for a full-spectrum light that is specifically for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. Start out using it for 15 minutes in the morning, working up to 30 minutes per morning during the fall and winter months. Some people use them for an additional 10 minutes in the afternoon when they experience a slump in energy.
Making an effort to be active in the winter months is important and easier in Colorado than other places due to our sunshiny days. Walking is a great option. Or try ice skating, snow shoeing, skiing, or snowboarding.
~ Dr. Katie Godfrey, LMFT
Want to learn more about how therapy can help with winter blues? Call us at 720-675-7123
Read more content from the Catalyst Center:
At the Catalyst Center we practice Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment, a well-researched, individualized approach to assessment that has been shown to be beneficial to those who participate in it. We use assessment as an opportunity for brief treatment geared towards answering your questions and planning your next steps towards living the life you desire. Check out this weekly series highlighting The Catalyst Center's approach to assessment and what types of testing we can do for you.
Birth is often crazy and unpredictable. For some mothers and families, the experience of giving birth ends up varying greatly from what they planned or hoped for. Trauma from birth and postpartum periods can mimic postpartum depression or other postpartum issues, yet the way we resolve these problems are distinct.
There are plenty of women who birth by cesarean and feel no emotional complications as a result, but many women feel robbed of the experience of giving birth in the way they might view as traditional.
Is therapy just for severe problems? Not at all!
- It can be a very cool experience and often valuable gift to give yourself by having an hour each week to talk about what's going on in your world. This is an hour where a neutral person, who you likely won't otherwise see in daily life, will give you undivided attention and support.
- Having a therapist all to yourself and having an hour a week to work on you can help you to become a better employee, partner, friend, athlete, or simply a better human being.
Participating in social media can be understood as a way in which we ask our community to connect with and/or bear witness to us, and yet as fun and interesting as it can be, most people find this way of connecting leaves them lacking, still searching for that felt-sense of being truly seen and accepted.
Summertime means kids are out of school and the dreaded “Bringing Kids to the Grocery Store Season,” is upon us. Daily tasks can become much more complicated when you have to plan around kids’ schedules, moods, attention-spans, etc.
Why does therapy heal? My answer is quite different that you might think.
Emotions are not necessarily based on rationality, but that does not discount the validity or significance emotions play in our overall lives. Emotions give us crucial information about ourselves as well as our relationships, contexts, and interpretation of events.
At The Catalyst Center, we take pride in our promotion of healthy relationships of all types. We love nurturing intimacy and love in all the forms it takes and we hope you will take some time to celebrate love and connection during this Pride weekend!
The Catalyst Center wants to wish every father a wonderful Father's Day! We've compiled a list of some fun local activities to help you celebrate Dad with the whole family!
There are few things more discouraging as a parent than watching your child suffer with a problem you know you can't solve for them. Here is just a small list of possible coping activities for mental, emotional, and even physical health.
As a full-time therapist and parent of three children, I know firsthand that it can sometimes feel like a juggling act! Here are some suggestions that may buy you more time to spend with your family...
We believe that the setting matters when doing therapy. That is why we strive to provide a comfortable, spa-like environment to help promote a calm and soothing experience. Read why we believe it is important to make a therapeutic space feel therapeutic.
When we allow our minds to be still, rather than constantly engaging in the world around us through texting, tweeting, consuming social media, we open ourselves up to experience the world in a different manner, and to allow ideas, reflections, feelings, to just “pop into our heads.”