Feeling gloomy? Cloudy days could be bringing you down

Gloomy days could lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Clouds, NW Grand Rapids, April Beresford.jpg
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 18:22:26-05

WEST MICHIGAN — We're six days into the new year and depending on where you live, you can count on one hand how many minutes of sunshine West Michigan has seen in all of 2023. If these dim days got you down, you're not alone.

Feeling gloomy? Well, it's not just you. From the start of the new year up until now, Grand Rapids has seen the sun for a total of five minutes.

"This has been very abnormal as far as lack of sunshine," says National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Ceru.

According to the National Weather Service, West Michigan picks up around 4,644 minutes of sunshine on average in the month of January.

"And the fact that we've had a constant moving of systems and all of those systems have actually had a lake effect component to them," said Ceru.

Once again, lake effect continues to curse us with those cloudy skies, which may actually leave you feeling gloomy, or "S.A.D."

"Seasonal affective disorder is a condition where people can experience mood changes, usually towards the depression side, where when the days get shorter, in fall and in the winter," says Dr. Subodh Jain, the division chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Corewell Health.

Dr. Jain says the cure for seasonal affective disorder is pretty simple.

"They get resolved when the light is adequately available," says Jain.

For those cloudy stretches, Dr. Jain advises you find ways to cope.

"First things first is: How do we keep ourselves active and in exposure to sunlight as much as we can?" says Jain. "I know that's not always possible like in our area; however, good exposure to sunlight where we can; if that is not available, then light therapy helps."

In addition to light therapy, he says other ways to combat S.A.D. is by regular exercise, a healthy diet, a steady sleep routine and by taking vitamin D.

READ MORE: Your West Michigan forecast

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