Dealing with Daylight Saving Time and Depression

A specialist has tips for managing mood as we ‘fall back’ and deal with seasonal depression heading into winter.

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CLEVELAND – The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health.

Doctors are seeing more cases of low-grade depression, which could magnify as we adjust to the clocks ‘falling back’ for daylight saving time.

“It’s come about because with COVID-19 we have so much change. So much unpredictability. So much uncertainty. The target is always moving as to what we know and what we don’t know and how things change and it’s unnerving,” said Jane Pernotto-Ehrman, a behavioral health specialist with Cleveland Clinic.

Pernotto-Ehrman said the pandemic, coupled with the lack of sunshine during the winter months, may make more people feel depressed – but there are ways to help improve your mood.

For example, getting enough sleep, keeping a daily routine and getting some fresh air outside.

Meditation can also be helpful, even if it’s just five minutes a day.

And bright light first thing in the morning, even lamp light, can be energizing.

In addition, she recommends acknowledging your feelings, expressing them and then releasing them.

One way to do this is writing them down in a journal or talking about them with someone you trust – and then letting the feelings go.

“Refocus to the good in your life. We woke up today. You feel good? You have clothes on? You have food in the fridge? You have clean water coming out of the tap? You’re doing better than a lot of people in our communities and in the world,” she said.

If your depression doesn’t seem to be getting better on its own, Pernotto-Ehrman recommends seeking a specialist so they can offer more assistance.

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