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April Winter Blues

April Winter Blues? Really?

Find some early spring tips to feel better.

By David A. Morris, LCSW

april-winter-bluesAre you feeling sad? Are you noticing your energy hasn’t come back yet? Several clients of mine have recently returned from sunny weather and immediately noticed the positive shift in motivation. Winter blues in April just doesn’t seem right. Typically we would be experiencing daffodils and tulips blooming. Although some brave courageous plants are trying to poke their heads out unfortunately we have overcast, snowy days with no end yet in sight. Fortunately, there are immediate changes we can make to start feeling better.

First, review this quick checklist to monitor your mood during this time:

  • Increase in appetite but decrease in energy
  • Lacking motivation
  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Anxious and Irritable

Consider these 3 areas to start making changes:

  1. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is produced in our skin after exposure to sunlight. It is the only vitamin that is a hormone. Most people are aware it helps absorb calcium for strong bones, teeth and muscles. But did you know vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin). Have your doctor test for Vitamin D deficiency and consider a supplement.
  2. Melatonin – Natural light and regulation of melatonin production are closely linked. Light entering the body though the eyes regulates our internal time clock otherwise known as circadian rhythms. Vital circadian rhythms control energy, mood , appetite, sleep, sex drive and other body-mind functions. The American Sleep Academy recommends 3 mg of melatonin 60-90 minutes before sleep each night. It does not recommend this for issues with clinical insomnia.
  3. Connect with People– Picture the people in your life as dots. Look for chances to connect those dots by making visits to those people. Plan a lunch, take a walk, go to a movie, or get some coffee. The more dots you connect the better your mood picture will be. If this April winter impacts your mood; ask one of your dots (aka friends) hold you accountable to get out and be social.

To help you build a specific plan to feel better, contact New Directions Counseling Services for an experienced yet caring therapist. 724.934.3905