UK professor, clinical psychologist shares ways to manage seasonal depression in the new year

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 10:00 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The winter season can be hard on many people.

Instead of soaking up the sun and getting loads of vitamin D, people are wrapped up indoors, staying warm.

University of Kentucky professor and licensed clinical psychologist, Michelle Martel said the sunshine isn’t the only factor leading to seasonal mental health problems.

“If you do feel like there’s a seasonal component of, you’re feeling a little down, it wouldn’t hurt to take some vitamin d or a sun lamp can be helpful,” Martel said.

She said after the holidays kids might feel academic and social stressors, and adults might be feeling more social and financial stressors as well.

“Kids going back to school can experience some stress and anxiety, just about getting back into that routine, or dealing with social stress and academic pressures. The same thing can be true with teenagers and young adults as well. And then parents dealing with the aftermath of the holidays, bills coming in, and getting back into their own routine,” Martel said.

Many people deal with stress, anxiety or depression, so she says you’re not alone.

“Anxiety and depression are some of the more common problems people experience. Anxiety effects one in three over the course of a lifespan. Odds are you do know somebody dealing with it even if they haven’t told you,” she said.

Martel said feeling down for short periods of time is nothing to be concerned about, unless it is negatively impacting your ability to do things.

“I often tell people I work with if we didn’t have the negative emotions, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the positive emotions,” Martel said.

She said it’s important to normalize the topics of mental health.

If someone is struggling, she encouraged people to reach out and seek help.

Martel added that setting attainable goals in the new year will help keep people on track.