Do You Get the Winter Blues?

Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Field Specialist ANR

Those that work in the agriculture industry know that it doesn’t matter the time of year, it is always busy. The Winter season is no different it just has its own unique demands. However, there may be other things going on in our bodies right now. During this time of year, many people often begin expressing a feeling of sadness or mild depression. Did you know that feeling sad during this time of year is very typical, and many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder?

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

  • A type of depression that typically lasts 4-5 months a year during the winter months
  • There are many different types of potential signs just to list a few:
    • Feeling sad, lonely, depressed for more than 2 weeks 
    • Tired, sluggish, upset 
    • Loss of appetite, having low energy, or thoughts of suicide.

Many people are often ashamed or worried to share with others when they are feeling sad or lonely. But there is nothing to be ashamed about. Just like we take care of our equipment, friends, and family, we need to care for ourselves.  

  • 1 in 5 adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness this year
  • Approximately 50% of Americans will experience a mental health challenge

What causes SAD? Many researchers believe it has to do with an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain including serotonin and melatonin.

  • A decrease in the sunshine, the shorter days mixed with cloudy skies make for less.
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Our body’s struggle to adjust to the shorter daylight hours and stay in a routine. 
  • It is easier for us to feel more tired during the longer, colder night hours.

How is SAD treated?

  • Keeping up with a routine
  • Talking with a physician
  • Light therapy
  • Medication to treat depressive symptoms
  • Vitamin D supplement
  • Finding a self-help or support strategy that works for you!

If there is ever a concern of feeling depressed know it is okay to seek out support from a doctor, friend, pastor, or family member. There is also the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, if ever needed call 1-800-273-8255.

Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Field Specialist ANR, can be reached at 330-365-8160 or This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team,