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Breaking SAD

The Health Issue

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Maybe seasonal affective disorder in Pittsburgh feels so widespread because our gloomy gray season just seems to last longer. One second, it's arts fest; the next, everyone's crowded around the Horne's Christmas tree. 

While the holiday season brings a lot of folks joy, there are some of us still having a hard time coping with the decreased daylight hours. Low energy, problems sleeping, moodiness. Add that to an especially grueling year with nonstop negativity coming from the president's Twitter account, horrible natural disasters, and one mass tragedy after another. These days, just turning on the news or your social media feed can lead one into a state of depression. 

The new year is typically the time for resolutions and life changes, but can we really wait that long? The struggle is real. We need help now.

For this year's Health Issue, we're looking into how folks can deal with the effects of seasonal affective disorder and the overwhelming stress and anxiety that has plagued so many of us this year. So, what help is out there?

We got advice from a local psychiatrist on how to combat the symptoms. Worried you can’t afford treatment? We’ve compiled a list of budget-friendly options.

We also tried a bunch of alternative self-care treatments offered by local wellness centers to see if they really worked. A yoga session brought us to tears. We sat in a 190-degree mobile sauna in a Strip District parking lot. We tried cupping (and have the large, purple marks on our back to prove it).

We hope you find something in this issue that you can use. Have a tip we didn't share? Please let us know what has helped you. 

If you're seriously depressed and worried about your mental health, as always, please reach out to your doctor. We’ve included local numbers to call if you’re facing an emergency and don’t have anywhere else to turn. Remember: asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and you are not alone.

Stay warm, everyone.

Read more into how to stay sane this winter:

How to combat seasonal affective disorder

Tips for mental self-care on a budget

Q&A with a professional exerciser

Levity Day Spa: Float Tank Review

Healing Roots Massage Review: Yoga Nidra

Does CBD oil work?

Cupping therapy pulls tension up, like the opposite of massage, but in a soothing

Orangetheory understandably has an almost cult following

After a sauna, I couldn’t give two shvitz

Caving to the pressure of the Himalayan salt trend

Social media probably makes you feel bad — here’s how to limit usage

Paint a happier you with art therapy


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