Feeling sad? How to make it to spring
The dark, cold winter seems to be dragging on, and although you know sunnier, warmer days are ahead, you might feel down and depressed. It might even affect your work.
You’re not alone. For some it may simply be the winter blues. For others it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
Whether it’s simple or seasonal, poor mental health can lead to more complex issues such as substance abuse and anxiety, especially when left untreated.
But there is help, and it may be right at your workplace.
“Mental well-being is an integral part of a person’s overall health,” says Jill Bley-Klink, a licensed professional counselor at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Hartford, WI. “Many employers offer programs and resources to help employees, such as education and information, and access to behavioral health services.”
For example, many workplaces offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), where employees and their household members can confidentially connect over the phone or in person with a counselor at no cost. Issues discussed can range from depression, anxiety, anger management and substance abuse to financial issues, child or elder care needs and marital conflict.
After discussing with the individual, the counselor recommends resources, therapists or other services that are available. Some EAPs may also offer telephone-based or remote counseling and support for those who are uncomfortable with face-to-face therapy sessions.
“Talk with your manager or human resources department about what wellness and behavioral health resources are available through your work,” Bley-Klink says. “Check your workplace’s intranet, blogs, social platforms, employee newsletters and emails.”
Jill also suggests other ways to help fight off the winter blues:
- Get up and move. Take a quick walk outside at lunch or do a few flight of stairs indoors. On weekends, consider embracing the winter weather and try ice skating or snow shoeing. If being outside isn’t for you, walk around at a nearby indoor mall or track.
- Get together with friends. Conversation and a few laughs after work with others can make any day a little brighter.
- Eat fresh. Opt for fresh produce and other healthy foods in your meals. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit like bananas and oranges on your work desk or the kitchen counter for easy snacking – and to brighten up your environment.
- Hang out with your dog or cat. Spending time with your pet or at the local animal shelter has been shown to lighten people’s moods.
- And as always, drink plenty of water and get a good night’s sleep.