Emotional Well-Being Blog
- March 31, 2011
- Emotional Well-Being Blog
We are approaching that time of year when many of us experience spring fever….a time when we feel energized and want to do many things from outdoor activities to spring cleaning within the home. At the Rittenhouse Women’s Wellness Center, I work with two groups of people: those wanting to pursue weight management and those wanting psychotherapy. From the weight management point of view, spring is a time when many of us prefer to exercise through outdoor activities which can nicely complement a healthy diet in pursuit of weight loss. Physical exercise is very helpful in maintaining a positive mood and outlook on life, so much so that the American Psychiatric Association is now recommending exercise as a strong treatment for the reduction of depression. An increase in social activities, which also may occur in the spring, is also useful in combating depression, or simply emerging from the winter blues! However, individuals who suffer from depression or bipolar illness are best advised to avoid excessive activity which might interfere with regular sleep patterns. Both individuals troubled by depression or bipolar illness are best served when they respect their need for regular sleep patterns. So the solution is simple: enjoy the springtime and the expanded activities that it often offers. If you want to begin an exercise program, this is the right time to start. Just remember to pursue your activities in moderation to avoid physical or emotional strain.
- February 01, 2011
- Emotional Well-Being Blog
Ever notice that in the winter, perhaps between November and March, you just feel sort of in the dumps? Maybe your motivation is lowered, you feel sad, things don’t seem as pleasurable as usual and your interest in work, socializing and entertainment seem to lose steam? Perhaps you also feel more moody, sad or irritable and even want to cry at times? If so, maybe you are having a bout of S.A.D… or Seasonal Affective Disorder. It isn’t totally clear what causes this, but there are several ways to treat it.
First of all, realizing your own vulnerability towards depression at this time of year is a good first step to solving the problem.
Some interventions that may help include the following:
Buy a full spectrum light. These can be found online (Northern Lights is a great brand). Try to use it in the morning before dawn. This can help extend the daylight so that your spirits lift.
Increase exercise. Often the cold weather discourages us from exercising. However, if we actively combat this tendency by self consciously increasing our exercise, we might find that the depression lifts.
Psychotherapy. If the depression really begins to interfere with work or socializing, psychotherapy can be helpful.
Medication. In some instances using anti depressants in combination with some of the other interventions listed will also be helpful, especially if initiated at the beginning of the winter in November.
Nutrition. There is evidence that proves that good nutrition can also improve your mood.
In any event, don’t despair too much because inevitably winter ends and spring will emerge once again!
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