COLORADO SPRINGS — It's a common mental health challenge that local physicians say they're already starting to see. News5 learned people feeling anxiety from the coronavirus pandemic will also need to be ready to fight off the depression that can accompany the changing seasons. It's called seasonal affective disorder.
One of the things people love most about living in Colorado are the changing seasons, but as the leaves change, temperatures drop, and there's less daylight, physicians want you to pay attention to changes in your moods and how you are feeling. It'll be important to rebound from depression and common mental health challenges that come with the seasonal blues.
"I am seeing more anxiety than I normally would in an average year," said UCHealth Behavioral Medicine expert Lynnay Carona.
Carona says she's already helping people in southern Colorado who feel they're at risk.
"You can actually have seasonal depression related to either the summer time or the winter time although the winter is more common," said Carona.
Experts say we need to be especially vigilant when it comes to our kids.
"Children are actually susceptable to seasonal affective disorder and given the pressure of changes in their school setting and the changes in home life related to COVID, I would reccommend that parents keep a close eye on their kids," said Carona.
Symptoms may include oversleeping, change of appetite, weight gain, and feeling tired.
"When things start to become stressful, or they are feeling down I want people to build that toolbox of 5,6,7 things that they know are go-to activities that make them feel good," said Carona.
There are even more steps you can take to fight back.
"Bundle up, get out in that sunlight and make sure you are moving your body," said Carona.
"Sit close to your window and open a shade and get that natural light exposure that can be helpful," said Judith Joseph, a child and adult psychiatrist.
Experts suggest developing a workout routine and to boost your melatonin levels to get a good night's sleep.
"You can get natural melatonin through red cherries you can also try melatonin supplements and foods like walnuts things that are rich and a happy chemicals for your brain," said Joseph.
For more information on seasonal affective disorder, or to seek treatment for the mental health challenges you're facing you can contact the experts: https://www.uchealth.org/provider/lynnay-carona-msw-lcsw/