MORE THAN THE "WINTER BLUES"

By UnityPoint Health on Monday, February 11, 2019


How to combat seasonal depression

This blog was written by Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of Unity Point Health:

When you live in the Midwest, winter almost always outstays its welcome. Remember the winter storm we had in May 2013? Not cool.

This time of year is tough.  If you’re sliding into a winter slump – the post-holidays, pre-spring lull – you’re not alone. I, too, find myself pushing back against the cold temperatures and gray days from time-to-time.

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Seasonal depression can happen to any of us, and it’s easy to brush feelings of sadness or discouragement off as simply the “winter blues.” Instead, I’d encourage all of us to pause and evaluate how we’re prioritizing self-care and mental health, acknowledging – not ignoring – when we need a little support.

seasonal depression

As you do, consider the following UnityPoint Health expert advice for managing seasonal depression:

Symptoms of Seasonal Depression

Approximately seven percent of people in the United States experience major depressive disorder, and of that seven percent, roughly 10-20 percent will present with seasonal depression. Research shows those who are younger and female are at a higher risk.

Symptoms of seasonal depression may include:

  • Low mood or loss of interest in things usually enjoyed
  • Lack of motivation
  • Significant changes in sleeping patterns
  • Significant changes in eating patterns or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Repeated thoughts of excessive worry, guilt or death

Seasonal Depression Treatment

To fight the symptoms of seasonal depression, follow measures for good self-care:

  • Adequate calorie intake, rest and exercise
  • Build positive experiences into this time of year
  • Have a good support network of family and friends, and use that support network
  • Talk about feelings, and try not to bottle them up
  • Balance stress

As soon as someone feels seasonal depression symptoms are disrupting his/her typical routines or day to day functioning, it’s time to contact your primary care provider. It’s never too soon to talk with a provider about how you are feeling, and the sooner the intervention, the better the outcome.

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Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should go to the emergency room or call 911 for immediate assessment and safety.

You can read the full article here: Feeling SAD? How to Combat Seasonal Depression

vermeerKevin Vermeer assumed the role President and CEO of UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) in January 2016. He's served the organization in a variety of leadership roles since 2000. Vermeer has over two decades of experience managing financial operations for leading health care organizations. Vermeer participates in community organizations, such as the Iowa Business Council and Greater Des Moines Committee. Vermeer also serves on the Healthiest State Initiative Board.