Coping with a long winter

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 1:27 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Well, I think we are all feeling that this winter has been a long one. And with only a couple of inches to go to beat the record snowfall in Bismarck, it has been longer and snowier than what most of us are used to. Prolonged winters like this one can affect people’s mood and motivation.

This is a sound a little too familiar to our ears this winter. And the snow doesn’t just make us bring the shovels out, it can bring out a sense of gloom.

“I hate it. It’s one of the worse winters as far as snow. I think it is close to, maybe inches away from a record now, but I’m tired of shoveling,” said Clare Hochhalter of Bismarck.

Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, or seasonal depression is brought on by the change in the seasons. Psychologists say symptoms such as loss of interest, low energy and sleeping too much can start as early as the fall.

“Extra snow like this, not having a lot of sunlight, that can all contribute to it,” said clinical mental health counselor Greg Molinaro.

It’s especially hard with fewer daylight hours and snow that continues to pile up, making people often feel stuck inside. Clinical Mental Health Counselor Greg Molinaro says people can feel themselves start to withdraw from things they normally enjoy.

“Guess it is part of living in this part of the world, we deal with that, and we do the best we can. Eventually it warms up and we get summer again, hopefully,” said Dean Goetz of Bismarck.

Molinaro says there are ways to help lessen SAD’s effects such as exercise, spending time with friends and family and even an unusual method.

“One of the things we can do for hope is to do go look at our pictures from last summer. Those outdoor pictures, the outdoor picnics, the green grass the lakes we were at just going and looking at them can help us to go oh, that is just around that corner, that is just ahead,” said Molinaro.

If anything, it’s a reminder that it might take a while for the green grass to show, but snowless days are just around the corner.

If you are feeling that your depression is severe or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can text or call 988 for more help.