Winter Mental Health Care

Is it just me or did the cold really sneak up on us this year? I mean, I’m sure there must have been a gradual build up, but it feels like I woke up this morning to randomly find that it’s midwinter. I mean, the moon was still up when I left for work, and everything was covered in frost.

No wonder everyone’s been hibernating lately – this, at least, I’ve noticed. For example, my friend Rose has been copping out of our regular beach walks, and my bike-crazy sister has taken to turning up for brunch in a taxi. Now it all makes sense – it’s because it’s so cold and dark. While I’ve barely noticed this, other people have certainly cottoned to it, at least subconsciously.

As for me, I must have developed a tough hide when it comes to braving winter conditions. Perhaps it comes from having grown up with the icy conditions on the Mornington Peninsula. Psychologists say that it’s important to get outside and exercise during winter, anyway. I think I tend to go around with that notion in the back of my mind – that grabbing some vitamin D from the sun whenever I can will help stave off seasonal affective disorder.

It could be that this approach does, in fact, help keep my wellbeing intact over winter, along with my overall state of mind. Maybe that’s why the season is less apparent to me. Who knows? I guess I’d be interested to know what’s made of this by a qualified psychiatrist. Mornington clinicians, care to weigh in? Beyond general wellbeing, do seasonal changes seem to have any effect on symptoms of mental illness?

In the media, there’s a lot of emphasis on maintaining physical health over winter – keeping colds and flu at bay and so forth. But mental health, it seems, is an equally important consideration for many people, and one that is frequently overlooked.

 

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