Don’t ignore ‘feeling blue’

Published 7:10 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

don’t know about you, but the rain and dreary climate we have had this past week has affected my psyche.

I am a person who thrives on daylight, and because of the cloudy skies recently, I have found myself feeling under the weather.

I am having a harder time crawling out of bed in the morning, and when I do, it feels like I am expelling every ounce of energy just to get dressed.

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I am pretty sure I am experiencing what many health care providers call the January blues or SAD — Seasonal Affective Disorder.

According to, more than 10 million people deal with this condition, so I guess there is some solace in knowing I’m not alone in feeling less than chipper.

It is also reassuring to know there is a physical reason I’m feeling blue.

According to the website, SAD has biological underpinnings that are fueled by the decrease in light due to shorter and rainy days.

“Fewer daylight hours wreaks havoc on the body,” Anthony DeMaria, PhD, supervising psychologist at Mount Sinai-West Hospital’s Center for Intensive Treatment for Personality Disorders, stated. “A variety of neurochemicals are affected.”

In darkness, for example, DeMaria said that the body produces more melatonin, causing sluggishness and decreased energy.

And, Charlynn Ruan, PhD, a clinical psychologist and founder of Thrive Psychology, stated in the website that in addition to experiencing the effects of darker days and nights, post-holiday blues can also cloud our minds and hearts.

“Many people are distracted and busy during the holiday,” Ruan said. “But in January, that doesn’t happen. There are no decorations and music, and the bills also starting coming in.”

I know I feel a little blue after I take down my decorations.

That joy I experience when my home looks festive comes to a halt, because my house seems bare and naked, especially once the garland is all put away.

Cognitively, I know I will soon come to appreciate my home’s character without all the Christmas décor. Eventually, I will begin feeling more like myself, but as for now, I wanted to know if there was something I could do to speed the process. Fortunately, for me, this website also included some ideas I could consider trying.

Ruan suggested practicing better self-care, which could include getting a massage, joining a support group, surrounding yourself with good friends and starting a new activity. Ruan also said practicing mindfulness, which means focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, can help with the blues.

Another suggestion was to exercise kindness and gratitude.

“Studies show,” the website stated, “that random acts of kindness can be potent psychological boosts because they trigger the release of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter.” And by doing for others, this can shift the focus from ourselves to others so that we forget our problems.

Also, studies show, keeping a gratitude journal can aid with seasonal depression because an attitude of gratitude can increase happiness, improve sleep, and reduce depression. Even the immune system is strengthened, the website stated.

I plan to try out a couple of these suggestions while also praying for some sunny days.

While my symptoms may be a temporary condition, there are, however, people who may experience longer bouts of sadness, and it could be prudent to talk to your doctor or counselor so 2019 will be the best year ever.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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