Sara Heurung, area supervisor, Foster Grandparent Program
With the cooler weather and shorter days this past week, I find myself getting ready for another Great Minnesota Winter.
When we think about Minnesota winters some talk of the bitter cold and shorter days, while others talk about the beauty of the falling snow and hoarfrost. What many don’t talk about is Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD is a form of depression that cycles with the seasons, and although it can happen with any season, it’s most common during the winter months because of the shorter days and the lack of time spent outdoors.
Those who are clinically diagnosed with SAD may be prescribed antidepressants or advised to partake in light therapy. But, what else can people do to combat the symptoms of SAD? Volunteer.
Studies have found those who volunteer report shorter periods of sadness and depression than those who do not. When one volunteers, they are guaranteed to get out of the house and meet other people. Volunteering can boost self-esteem and expand connections in a community, which has been linked to longer life expectancy and better health. Volunteering has been known to give one a sense of purpose and makes one feel good about themselves (www.nonprofithub.org).