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Daylight Saving Time and Mental Health: How to beat seasonal depression

Daylight Saving Time happens this weekend. And when it gets dark earlier, it can impact some people’s mental health.
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 8:45 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Daylight Saving Time happens this weekend. And when it gets dark earlier, it can impact some people’s mental health.

“Losing daylight hours can really affect your mental health by disrupting your body’s natural rhythm or your body’s internal clock,” said Burell Behavior Health Connection Center Supervisor and Licenced Counselor Lindsay Sorbo. “That could make you feel tired, feel like you have less energy, or also trigger mood changes that can sometimes rise to the level of what we call seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues, which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in season.”

Fewer daylight hours can impact our mental health but there are things you can do to help.

“I’d also suggest exercising at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week, those hormones that we get from exercising, that dopamine and that serotonin, those feel-good hormones can really be helpful and promote that sense of well-being,” said Sorbo. “Try as much as possible to regulate your schedule. Go to bed at the same time every day, wake up at the same time every day, and eliminate some of those variances there.”

Dealing with the winter blues is just as normal as the common cold. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a licensed professional.

“if you’re noticing that this happens to you, every time, every year around this time that you’re starting to feel kind of these symptoms, that could be an indication that you’re dealing with a seasonal affective mood issue,” said Sorbo. “If it’s rising to the level where you’re feeling hopeless or alone or you’re feeling thoughts of harming yourself, that would be a time when we would definitely want you to reach out.”

About 20% of people struggle with seasonal affective disorder. And again, it is as normal as getting a winter cold. If you are in crisis, you can call the 24/7 Crisis Line at 1-800-494-7355.

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