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Overcoming Winter Blues

A lot of people are sick of winter.

“You slide around a lot on the ice,” said David Brixie, a BYU-Idaho student from Texas. “Your car gets stuck. You gotta dig it out.”

“A little depressed because you don’t want to go outside – you just want to stay inside,” said Andrea Gonzales, a BYU-Idaho students from Bolivia.

Those feelings about winter are not uncommon, but for some people the dreariness of winter can lead to a clinical depression called seasonal affective disorder. It’s something counselors like Gracie Hargraves of Creekside Counseling see a lot of this time of year.

“In the winter time do the depression symptoms become more pronounced, that they get more depressed?, Hargraves asks her clients she may suspect have the disorder. “It usually starts around a specific time for them and ends around a specific time.”

The gray skies and bad roads are hard on a lot of people, including our reporters from warmer climates.

“It’s definitely gotten tougher to get out of bed in the morning,” Taja Davis said. “You feel it’s too cold, you don’t want to go outside.”

“I don’t get sad,” said Pheben Kassahun. “I feel it’s just another day with the snow. I get annoyed.”

But annoyed is far from depressed. When do you know it’s seasonal affective disorder?

“Helplessness, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide,” Hargraves said. “It’s definitely something that’s very serious. It could be lack of motivation, sleeping too much, insomnia.”

For some people like sportscaster Jeff Landers winter brings the opposite of depression.

“Every October, November I get the itch to get out on the mountain and play in the snow,” Landers said.

But for those who get really depressed in the winter, Hargraves suggests seeking a diagnosis, and possibly getting medicine and counseling.
And she has this advice for anyone suffering from winter blues.

“It’s related to the light. In the winter it gets more bleak , more dark,” Hargraves said. “Open up the windows in your home. Exercise is a very good option for assisting with those kinds of symptoms.”

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