Health & Happiness: Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Camille Keith

As we move into fall the days are getting shorter. You may notice you are spending more time inside. Living further north means we have a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder. If you start to notice the signs of seasonal affective disorder you can take steps to reduce your symptoms.

When it’s cold and dark out you may want to spend more time sleeping. Are you have difficulty getting up in the morning? Try to maintain a regular schedule, getting up and going to bed at the same time every day. When we have less energy we may not feel like doing things we usually enjoy, but this can make us feel worse. Make plans to stay active. Exercise has been shown to help improve our mood.

It’s also important to stay connected to other people. Often when we start feeling down we don’t want to be around other people, but this can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Notice if you feel reluctant before going out. You may want to set a goal of going out for a short amount of time. Then you can observe how you feel. If you notice you are feeling better you can decide to stay longer. Noticing how your mood changes after you participate in different activities can help you stay motivated to continue being active.

Feeling like you need additional support? As a counselor I can help assess your symptoms and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Camille Keith, MS, NCC is an LPC Intern under the supervision of Tara Sanderson PsyD, and provides individual counseling to help you clarify your values and maintain your sense of self in relationships. For more information, call (971) 295-1547 or visit