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Author: Marni Amsellem, Ph.D.

Seasonal Blues and Seasonal Depression: Now’s the Time to Take Action

This time of year, with gray skies clouding our days and temperatures keeping us indoors (in many places), it is not surprising that many report feeling blue. In fact, depression with a seasonal pattern has long been recognized as affecting many during the winter months. This pattern had for many years been known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but now is considered, for diagnostic purposes, to be a variant of major depressive disorder, known as depression with a seasonal pattern. While estimates of incidence is 6%-9.6% in the general population, many more individuals are affected by subclinical levels, or seasonal...

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It’s OK to take a mental health day (and here’s why)

Regardless of how much you usually like where you work or what you do for a living, at some point you may be tempted to “call in sick”, so to speak. You may feel the urge to reach into the bank of vacation days even if you’ve been reserving them for an actual vacation. Feeling burnt out can subtly make its presence felt and accumulate over time. Gradually, the sensation starts creeping in that you seem to be hitting a wall. You may catch yourself performing at less than an optimal level, knowingly putting in a reduced effort, or having...

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What It Means To Be A Caregiver

At some point in your life (and for some, at multiple points throughout your life) you will find yourself providing care for someone else. Often becoming a caregiver is a role you had not anticipated needing to fill. Or if you had anticipated becoming a caregiver “someday”, perhaps you didn’t anticipate the “someday” happening quite when it did. Regardless of whether you had anticipated assuming this role, the transition to becoming a caregiver often brings with it a lot of adjustment. On one level, how you spend your time daily may need to shift significantly. You may now need...

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When Counting Sheep Isn’t Cutting It: Managing Sleeping Difficulties

Few things are as distressing as wanting to be asleep, trying to fall asleep, yet feeling utterly powerless over your ability to fall asleep and having little success. You look over at the clock again and another hour has passed, yet you’re STILL awake. Why are you having sleeping difficulties? There can be any number of reasons why you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.  Here is an incomplete list: Having (or anticipating) a particularly stressful day or even a day when you’ve been overstimulated, perhaps even in a good way, can affect your sleep. What you...

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Mental Health Awareness – What Does it Really Mean to be Aware?

At the end of this mental health Awareness Month, ask yourself, do you really know what it means to be aware of  your mental health? As someone who, by profession, promotes mental health, this month is especially meaningful to me. Mental health is an essential part of all of our lives, as we are at our peak when we are in peak mental health. When the term “mental health” is discussed, often the concept that comes to mind is “mental illness”, and it confuses things when the terms are used interchangeably. Mental health and mental illness are clearly strongly related, but...

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