Beat the Winter Blues

Written by Molly Swanberg

It’s that time of year again. Winter has been long, and according to our famous groundhog friend we still have a significant stretch ahead of us. The days are short, and the relentless wrath of Mother Nature has all too often left us trapped in our homes for hours on end. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but as a New Englander I have seen my fair share of snow this season and I am more than ready for the thaw of spring. This time of year is a challenge for all people in our region but proves to be especially difficult for people who suffer from depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The following are some tips on how to cope with the “winter blues” from a behavioral perspective.

1)Vitamin D:
Due to the shorter days and the lower temperatures people are less likely to get the amount of sun exposure that they get during other seasons. This can result in a deficiency in Vitamin D, which can contribute to depressed mood. Some people who are seasoned sufferers of SAD (try saying that ten times fast) have invested in special lamps that simulate the rays of the sun. This type of treatment may be indicated if recommended by your physician or therapist, but you can likely get the same effect by making an effort to get outdoors more during the winter months. Keep in mind that you need to have direct contact with the sun’s rays. Sitting in a window or sun-lit indoor area will not do. It is likely that the activity of going outdoors will be therapeutic in itself. Getting out of the house and avoiding isolation is very important in treating depression. So on those rare sunny winter days get up, dress in warm clothes, get outdoors, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

2)Keep a schedule:
Maintaining a regular sleep and activity schedule is critical when you are someone who suffers from depression. As a mental health practitioner it is very common to hear people lament about how quickly night comes and how early it gets dark. These also tend to be the people who sleep in late. For example, someone who wakes up at noon daily will have about 4 hours and 45 minutes of daylight. That in itself is depressing! Setting an alarm and getting out of bed at an appropriate hour is hugely important for combating the symptoms of depression. 4 hours and 45 minutes is not enough time in the day to accomplish all of the other tasks that are conducive to improving mood such as exercising, engaging in pleasurable activities, and even working. Starting out with such a handicap for time is problematic. In addition, oversleeping, though tempting, is not healthy. Get your 8 to 9 hours in and get moving!

Here at the Center for Anxiety we cannot talk enough about the importance of regular exercise in treating symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Having a regular fitness plan not only builds structure into your day but on a brain chemistry level it provides a noticeable boost of feel-good endorphins. Getting regular exercise tends to be easier for people in the warmer months. Most people do not prefer to go running when the temperatures are sub-zero and there is ice on the pavement. However, there are other easier ways to get your workout in. Join the local gym OR if you have a smartphone there are tons of new fitness applications you can download. If you prefer to get outdoors try winter sports such as cross country skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing.

If you can take advantage of these tips you will be well on your way to fighting the winter blues. Time will fly and spring will be here before you know it!


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Calmer in the Face of Hardship
I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.

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