Feeling 'SAD'? Psychiatrist Suggests Taking A Walk
Psychiatrist Offers Tips For Beating Winter Blues
By Cynthia Schuster
Now that we have “fallen back” to Standard Time, nightfall comes earlier and daylight might seem like a scarcer resource.
For some, the so-called “shorter days” over the winter months lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that has a tendency to occur at the same time of year over the period of a few years.
Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed, a psychiatrist at the Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire, said SAD sufferers are more prone to drug and alcohol abuse, but a healthy diet and exercise are critical to staving off the symptoms in the first place.
He said Americans can learn a lot from the Polish, where the winter daylight hours are even fewer yet incidents of SAD are far less common. He attributes that to the amount of fish in the Polish diet.
“They eat maybe three to four times the amount of fish than the American diet,” said Ahmed.
While the cold Wisconsin winters might inspire many to stay inside, Ahmed also said a snowy day is the perfect time to take an outdoor walk.
“You’ll find that when it is snowing, it will improve your mood a bit,” he said.
The extra light that reflects off the snow can sometimes be enough to lift a person's spirits, he said.
“A lot of people ignore the value of going outside and enjoying the natural light," he said.