Know the difference between the winter blues and serious depression
COLORADO SPRINGS -
On February 2 all eyes will be on Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow winter will last six more weeks and if he doesn’t, spring will arrive early, which is not what happened this year. Most of us know when spring actually arrives on the calendar, but nevertheless we hold out hope.
“It’s human nature to want to look forward to something,” said Scott Bea, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic. “I think Groundhog Day comes right at a great interval where we’re a little tired and we’re looking forward to something better than we’re getting, although it’s not coming right away, so I think Groundhog Day gives us a little hope.”
Dr. Bea said once late January arrives people start getting worn down by winter – particularly in northern climates. He said most people don’t take Groundhog Day too seriously, but folks do like to hold onto the notion that the warm, sunny days of spring could be just around the corner.
He added that generally people enjoy the thought of seeing into the future and getting a glimpse
of what may be ahead. It’s usually best to live in the moment as much as possible, according to Dr. Bea, but he said it’s okay to have some fun with the folklore if it’ll help folks beat the winter doldrums.
“Wintertime is a time associated with low moods, even if we’re not experiencing seasonal affective disorder, we do feel winter blues; we don’t see the sun as much in this climate; our days are short; so everybody likes the idea of springtime just a little bit better,” said Dr. Bea.
Doctor Bea also says it’s not uncommon to feel a little sluggish and down in the wintertime but those who find depressive symptoms are affecting their daily functioning or the ability to enjoy life, should call their doctor.