Well-known therapist offers tips to dealing with seasonal depression

Evening arriving earlier can have an impact on us emotionally and mentally, but if those feelings persist, experts say treatment may be necessary.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:47 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, nearly 10 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with depression. During this time of year, depression can be more pronounced with the changing seasons and approaching holidays.

While the cold weather may be a welcome sight to dealing with the heat, for some, evening arriving earlier can have a negative impact mentally and emotionally. Doctors call those feelings seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

Trey Tucker is a Tennessee-based licensed therapist with a large TikTok following. He said how our bodies react during shorter days is equivalent to hibernation.

“We know that the daylight is coming down, and your body is shifting down with it. You start to feel a little bit less energy, you might want to eat more carbohydrates, and you get those cravings. You maybe start sleeping more, maybe going to sleep earlier or sleep later,” said Tucker, the owner of Rugged Counseling.

For some, the impact can be much deeper.

“What we think is about 20 percent of people, they end up really getting diagnosed with this (seasonal depression) and get more aggressive treatment,” said Tucker.

One natural method Tucker recommends is getting as much sunlight as possible, including at sunrise and sunset.

“It helps your circadian rhythm to know, it’s morning, we’re starting our day. Now, it’s night, we’re starting to shut down. The light itself gets your body some vitamin D so that makes you feel better inside,” said Tucker.

If the issues become more serious, therapy and medication could be needed. Local resources are also available.

  • COMCARE 24-hour Crisis Hot Line: 316-660-7500
  • Prairie View Crisis Line: 1-800-362-0180
  • Mental Health Association: 316-652-2590

Experts say exercise, a balanced diet and a good sleep schedule are also good for your mental health.