As winter blues, vacation stress and pandemic problems promote people’s mental health, health authorities are calling for self-care

The lack of sunlight during the winter months can affect people’s mental health.

Deficiency in vitamin D, changes in sleep patterns due to prolonged darkness, and less active people can all contribute to depression.

The holidays can cause stress, which can be good and bad.

And now, news about the Omicron variant and health officials urging people to take more precautions against COVID can add to that stress.

“In people who have already been diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression and anxiety, we would increase these symptoms,” said Heidi Pritzl, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist for Aspirus Koller Behavioral Health in Rhineland.

People’s mental health has changed in the wake of the pandemic.

Pritzl says at the beginning that she has noticed an improvement in many of her patients.

Staying home, reconnecting with people, slowing down a little helped some people who were suffering from depression or anxiety.

Pritzl says things have changed now.

“For the people I see who worked through the pandemic, I definitely see this pandemic fatigue that looks a lot like burnout. It’s just, ‘I’m just trying to get up in the morning. I’m just trying to get to work. I’m just trying to get dinner on the table. ‘ And that’s where I really encourage this finding of balance, ”says Pritzl.

She says balance can be anything from reevaluating work hours to eating out instead of cooking one evening.

There is a difference between those diagnosed with mental illness and those who may just be going through a difficult period and need something to upset them.

For the latter, there are simple things you can do. Pritzl says it starts with a focus on self-care.

“You know when you get on a plane and when there is a crisis, put on the oxygen mask first. We really need to promote self-care and awareness and find balance. It looks different now, ”she says.

Pritzl recommends apps like “Calm” that teach breathing techniques and self-care.

She also says it helps to stay in the now.

“The moment we’re in the past, and that could be an hour ago, we tend to be depressed. You know, they should have, should have, ”said Pritzl. “The minute we move forward, we are more anxious. I have to do this. I have to do this. So it was also helpful to work on these techniques, to stay present, to find a balance. “

Pritzl says if depression, anxiety, or stress affects two areas of your life, like work and home, for long periods of time, you should see a doctor.

“I strongly recommend reconnecting to your primary care for everyone in the community as we always want to rule out our having medical concerns that we need to know and have access to refer you to the appropriate services. “.

According to Pritzl, if you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, you should call 911 or a crisis number.

The local number is 1-888-299-1188. You can also send an SMS to the national HOPE hotline at 741-741.

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