Depression or Menopause? How to take care of your “winter blahs”

The winter months can really take a toll on mental health, with many people feeling down, more anxious, and less motivated. While many women feel the case of the "winter blahs," no one really knows why it happens and whether they are normal or if something is wrong with them.

Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner from Spectrum Health,  says that sometimes the reason people feel the winter blahs is because they aren't giving their body the attention it needs. By following SEEDS, or Seven Essential Elements of Daily Success, these problems linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (the winter blahs) could be solved:

  • Water- Drink at least 80 ounces per day, more if you drink alcohol or caffeine.
  • Sleep- Sleeping 50 hours a week will keep your body and mind healthy and rested. That's approximately 7 hours a night.
  • Vitamins- Get at least three or four servings of multivitamins and calcium from food. Don't take Vlt D if you're spending a lot of time in the sun.
  • Exercise- Do something active everyday! Do aerobic fitness three or four times a week, strength training two or three times a week, and stretch every day. it's good for the body, mind, and sex drive.
  • Food- Eat smart carbs, smart proteins, and smart fats. Eat minimal carbs after 3 p.m.
  • Fiber- Take in 35 grams of fiber a day, and a fibercon pill at night to soak up the extra fruit to avoid loose body mass.
  • Metered breathing and gratitude- Every day put some time aside to reflect and be still. Gratitude gets us out of flight or fight and lets us really see what's around us.

Dr. Bitner says that if feelings of being profoundly sad or anxious are negatively affecting life for more than two weeks, it's a good idea to reach out for help. Whether it's menopause, or something more serious like true depression or anxiety disorder, it's important to know that these feelings are serious and can be treated to get better.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.

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