Lexington, Kentucky (WKYT) – The winter season can be tough for many people.
Instead of basking in the sun and getting lots of vitamin D, people stay indoors and wrapped up to stay warm.
Michelle Martel, a professor at the University of Kentucky and a licensed clinical psychologist, says sunlight isn’t the only factor that causes seasonal mental health problems.
“If you feel like there’s a seasonal component to it, you’re feeling a little down. Taking vitamin D won’t hurt, or a sun lamp will help,” Martell said.
She said that after the holidays, children can be academically and socially stressed, and adults can be more socially and financially stressed.
“Children returning to school may feel stressed and anxious about returning to normal life and coping with social and academic pressures. And parents deal with the aftermath of the vacation, the bills come in, and they get back to their routines,” Martel said.
Many people deal with stress, anxiety, or depression, so you’re not alone, she says.
“Anxiety and depression are some of the more common problems people experience. Anxiety affects 1 in 3 people during their lifetime. You might know what you’re dealing with,” she said.
Martell says short-term depression isn’t something to worry about as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your ability to do things.
“I often tell people I work with that if you don’t have negative emotions, you won’t understand positive emotions,” Martel said.
She said it was important to normalize the topic of mental health.
She encouraged people to reach out and ask for help if someone was struggling.
Martel added that setting achievable goals for the new year helps people stay on track.
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