Tips and resources to combat seasonal depression


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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — As Michiganders enter their second holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has released tips and resources to help cope with seasonal depression.

“The winter blues is a spectrum of mental health conditions. It can range from simply feeling out of sorts or lonely to full-blown clinical depression with suicidal thoughts. We need to remind ourselves that self-care is critical and to give ourselves permission to take time for ourselves. Suicidal thoughts should not be ignored. People who do reach out for help are generally grateful for the support in getting through a difficult time,” Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS medical director for behavioral health and forensic programs, said in a statement.

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Tips from MDHHS for those suffering from winter blues:

  • Stay active, even if it is doing small things each day.
  • Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
  • Keep a schedule and try to get fresh air every day.
  • Try to find a small pleasure for yourself within each day.
  • Avoid using too much alcohol and avoid drugs.
  • Create a buddy system to have someone you can call when you feel down.
  • Set boundaries on how you want to spend your time in a way that works for you. Be respectful of others who may want things from you, but remember to take care of yourself.
  • Seek professional help if you need it.

For a free, confidential conversation with a trained Stay Well crisis counselor, dial 888.535.6136 and press 8 at the prompt. A counselor can be reached around the clock.

Anyone with serious mental illness or substance use challenges can speak to a counselor at the Michigan Warmline by calling 888-PEER-753 (888.733.7753) from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

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