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Posted November 3, 2023 | 9:09 AM

Don't Let the Loss of Daylight Get You Down

Beat the winter blues with some basic self-care

Feeling a little extra fatigued lately? You're not alone. Even Floridians can feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that recurs regularly at certain times of the year, usually beginning in late fall or early winter and lasting into spring.

Scientists think SAD is caused by a biochemical change in the brain, triggered by shorter days and reduced sunlight during the winter.

Common symptoms of SAD can include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of energy
  • Increased sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and difficulty concentrating
  • Change in appetite/weight gain

As Daylight Savings Time comes to an end and you prepare to change your clocks back on Nov. 6, be proactive about your mental health and start practicing self-care.

Some easy ways to soak in the sunlight and boost your mood are:

  • Head outdoors before it gets dark. Whether you're visiting a Hillsborough County Park or taking a lunchtime stroll, getting proper exercise is a great way to practice self-care and improve overall wellness.
  • Take a breather. According to Mental Health America, meditation and other stress management techniques can help prevent symptoms of Seasonal Affective disorder. Have a few minutes to spare? Here are some quick and simple exercises from Hillsborough County's Healthy Living program.
  • Develop healthy habits. Eating a well-balanced diet can increase your energy and improve your mental wellness. Check out the Mindful Mondays Eat Well series, where a registered dietician from the Hillsborough County Aging Services department shows you quick, easy, and healthy recipes.

Still feeling down? Don't ignore it, it's ok to ask for help. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are many local organizations ready to step in with free resources.

                                  Mindful Mondays Mental Health Resources

Mindful Mondays promotes different ways you can make your mental health a priority but not take up too much of your busy schedule. From chair yoga virtual classes to tips on how to decompress after a long day, Hillsborough County's Mindful Mondays has various interactive resources for you to access no matter the day or time.

Interested in mindful videos that help improve your mental health? Check out the Mindful Monday's YouTube Playlist.

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