Gynecologic oncologist Alfred Guirguis, DO, and urogynecologist Soo Kwon, MD, will discuss women’s health issues — including general health, screenings and prevention and treatments for common women’s health problems — during a live Q&A on the Rush page on Facebook.
All of this cold weather is getting me down. How do I know if this is normal, or is there something more serious I should be worried about? What are some signs or symptoms I should be looking for to know that I should talk to my doc?
This is a very common experience and many people feel SAD at this time of the year due to the increased darkness and cold. SAD is also known as seasonal affective disorder.
If you find you are feeling as though you can’t shake the feelings and are losing interest in normal activities, isolating yourself, and feeling hopeless, then it is time to talk to a specialist.
Also, one strategy for coping with seasonal affective disorder is to use phototherapy or light therapy. You can purchase light boxes, and it’s recommended that individuals sit in front of these light boxes in the morning, and it can help the brain chemicals that help to decrease the effects of SAD.
Janine Gauthier, a psychologist at Rush, participated in our Rush On Call Q&A last week about staying healthy over the holidays. Here’s her advice about stress management:
There are some basic stress management techniques we can incorporate each and every day.
Deep abdominal breathing — breathing in your belly
Progressive muscle relaxation — relaxing one muscle group at a time until your entire body is relaxed
Massage therapy — this promotes relaxation both physical and emotional
Yoga — central to yoga is deep breathing
Guided imagery — imaging yourself in a very relaxing place
Physical exercise — engaging in cardiovascular exercise helps to promote endorphins in our body which helps us mangage stress
Mindfulness meditation — where you allow yourself to do a body scan to find where you hold your stress and then allowing self to breathe and stay in the present moment.
The nice thing is that many of these strategies (breathing, mindfulness) you can engage in even when you are in the mall, in the car, standing in line or with family and friends. The goal is to make these a regular part of your life, which will become more natural the more often you engage in them, and you will find your are managing life more effectively.