Some things

​to think about

The Seasons Are Changing, But Your Mood Doesn’t Have To

Have you noticed that beautiful sunset you enjoyed all summer now takes place around 6:00 PM? The season of sunshine is slowly slipping away, trying to sneak off without us noticing. It’s dark when you wake up and dark when you get out of work. Your brain and body can’t seem to figure out what time is it again? The temperatures are cooler,  and this lack of sunshine can really impact the way you feel.


“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 15 million adults or 7.1% of the U.S. population,” said Ana Jimenez, PA-C, of bonmente. “You don’t have to live in sub-zero climate to experience symptoms of SAD. It can happen right here in sunny California.”


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression closely linked to changes in the seasons, and it can make you feel like you’re in a constant state of gloom. But there’s no need to let your mood take a nose-dive just because the seasons change. There are ways to overcome SAD and keep your spirits high all year.

If you feel down or depressed for no apparent reason during the fall or winter months, you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder. While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it is believed to be related to a disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm – the natural 24-hour cycle that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.

People with SAD may have difficulty adjusting to shorter days and less sunlight. For this reason, SAD usually hits people the hardest in the fall as the days get shorter and continue into the winter. For some people, SAD can also occur in the spring or summer, although this is less common.


There are a few key signs that you might be suffering from SAD.

  1. How is your energy level? Do you feel more tired or less motivated than usual?
  2. Has your mood been shifting recently? Are you feeling more down or irritable than normal?
  3. How is your diet? Have you been craving carbohydrates more often or overeating in general?
  4. Don’t forget about sleep… Are you having more trouble falling or staying asleep?

Other symptoms of SAD can include difficulty concentrating and feelings of hopelessness or sadness. If you catch yourself nodding to any of these questions, it’s worth seeking a professional evaluation to determine whether SAD could be the cause.

Stress Medication | Mental Health Blog


Even though you don’t have to deal with the harsh winters that other parts of the country do, it’s still important to pay attention to your mental health as the seasons change. There are a few ways to help maintain a sunny mood, even when the weather isn’t.

  1. Make sure you’re getting enough daylight. Spend time outside daily, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block. 
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. 
  3. Connect with loved ones and socialize. Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean you have to hibernate – there are plenty of fun winter activities in Cali to enjoy with friends and family.


Some effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder include light therapy, counseling, and medication. Light therapy involves sitting near a special light box that emits bright light for 30 minutes to two hours daily. The light exposure helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and improve mood by affecting chemical changes in the brain.

Therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help people with SAD identify and change negative thinking patterns contributing to their depression. And finally, medication can help treat underlying conditions like anxiety or depression contributing to SAD symptoms.

Long Beach Psychiatrists | Online Therapy


Shorter days and less sunlight can impact your mood, even in sunny So Cal. But don’t spend your days wishing for warmer weather and suffering in the meantime.  

At bonmente, we look forward to helping you feel better – from an expert diagnosis to a customized treatment plan. With some lifestyle changes and perhaps some light therapy, counseling, or antidepressant medication, you can get through the changing seasons with your mood intact! Give us a call today!


The holidays are over, and the decorations are stored. It’s back to business and work as usual. Add in a sprinkle of guilt over your abandoned New Year’s resolution, the colder temperatures, and ongoing pandemic stressors, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a full-fledged case of the winter blues.

Is Blue Monday, a phenomenon of a depressed mood peaking on January 17, creeping up on you?

Is Blue Monday Really A Thing?

Let’s start with the science. Although research hasn’t confirmed that Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, there is plenty of research demonstrating that our moods are impacted by seasonal change… or the lack thereof.

People are more likely to report feeling sad during the winter months.

​They also experience an increase in feelings of happiness as spring approaches, followed by a dip around late summertime before going back up again through autumn and early winter.

The third Monday of January falls at the end of this period, where people report experiencing a dips in mood. The actual day of the dip can shift, so Blue Monday is very generous in that regard. 

Whether or not you’ve felt the weight of Blue Monday, the Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are real. Really real.


SAD Doesn’t Care What Day It Is…

​Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder tied to seasons that makes people feel depressed when there is less daylight (and longer nights). It can start in the fall, but typically sees an increase in cases from December to January.

SAD can lead to energy loss, weight gain, and increased appetite. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed because people assume they are just feeling “slowed down” during winter. We write it off as hibernation mode… except we are not bears. 

The good news about SAD, though, is it typically gets better as spring rolls around and the days get longer.

How Can You Survive Blue Monday?

If you’re feeling down this January, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are a few things you can do to help combat your Blue Monday (or Blue January) feelings that will make a huge difference without having to spend any more money!

1. Get enough sleep.

Research has shown that sleep deprivation directly affects mood. Less sleep = less happiness.

2. Exercise.

Exercise helps lift your mood by increasing your energy levels and endorphin levels in your brain. If you get some sunshine in the winter months, take advantage of it and go for a walk. A little bit of exercise AND some Vitamin D!

3. Eat wisely.

Look, we all tried to live off Peppermint Bark and Cinnamon Rolls for two weeks. And it probably landed us on the couch binging The Witcher. It’s time to ease off the holiday sweets and start giving our brains the healthy foods they need to boost our mood.

4. Soak up the sun.

Being in natural light is crucial for your mental health. So bundle up and get outside despite the cold. Move your Covid-mandated home office desk in front of a window. Give yourself a 10-minute break in the morning to seek some sunshine whenever it shows up.

5. Don’t isolate.

Of course bundled up in a pile of blankets is a tempting place to be when it’s miserable outside. But, again, we are not bears. People need people. Even the most introverted among us needs human connection. So talk to someone ​– a friend, family member, or therapist.

Don’t Carry Depression With You All Year

Blue Monday isn’t a scientifically-guaranteed event, but it is an important day during a particularly challenging part of the year to check in with yourself and take action to avoid or decrease depression.


Depression is an incredibly common and highly treatable illness,” said Khadejah Abraham, a board-certified licensed marriage and family therapist at bonmente. “More likely than not, we’ll all have depression at some point in our lives, but rather than let it take over and cause unnecessary suffering, we need to make just one phone call. That’s how treatment starts. One call.

Telepsychiatry in Long Beach, CA

If you or someone you love is looking for a psychiatrist in Long Beach, CA reach out to bonmente for support. We know that asking for help when it comes to treating depressionanxietyADHD, and PTSD is not easy. We also know that finding a provider you trust to help you navigate mental health care can be a challenge. That’s why we’re  here, doing things differently. Get support today!


Daylight savings time, also known as every parent’s worst nightmare, takes our whole routine and says “Nope.” You always think one little hour won’t matter that much, especially when it means an extra hour of sleep. But this biannual desynchronization isn’t so easy for our internal clocks. Daylight savings time says “Nope,” and our circadian rhythm responds with “Whoa!”

We blame the “fall back” for a lot of the fatigue we feel for a few weeks after the clock changes, but is it a sign of something more?

As it turns out, this sneaky one-hour-time-difference can pack a powerful punch. The mild disruption to your routine can have a major effect on your mood. The shorter days increase rates of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a disorder that creeps up on you gradually and can be really difficult to pinpoint since the trigger is so subtle.

Extended Darkness = Sleepy + Irritated

Daylight savings time can trigger underlying health disorders like depression. The human body has an internal clock (circadian rhythm) that cycles us through periods of wakefulness and sleep each day. Our internal clocks are set based upon our exposure to sunlight. In the morning, sunlight through the window sends a message to our brains saying it’s time to wake up. At night, the darkness signals sleep. During fall and winter, this natural pattern is disrupted.

The days become shorter. The darkness lingers. Why does it feel like it starts getting dark around lunch? It’s no wonder our internal body clocks are thrown off.

“Some people can make the transition more easily than others during daylight savings time,” said Jordan Blaine, PMHNP, at bonmente. “Winter depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and depression can range from mild to debilitating, but the first step is recognizing you are dealing with more than just a bad mood. You don’t have to accept the symptoms. There are effective treatments that can help.”

Steps To Make The Transition Easier 

The passionate debate continues as to whether or not we actually need to spring forward or fall back, but, for now, the clocks are doing their semi-annual shift on Nov. 7, 2021. To fight fatigue and low mood, start preparing now for the changes ahead with these helpful tips.

  • Ease into earlier bedtimes. This is especially important for parents. The sooner your entire family can get into a healthy sleep routine, the better!
  • Eat smart to fuel your body and brain. Sugar and sweetened drinks like soda have a direct link to depression. We love a mini candy bar as much as the next person, but the reality is that all of that Halloween candy is bringing us down. Fuel your body and brain with nutritious foods to boost your mood and keep you going.
  • Get moving. Bonus points if you can exercise outside to soak up the sunlight. Studies have shown that 15 minutes of sunlight twice a day during the cold months significantly reduces depressive symptoms, especially in people with SAD.
  • Find support. There are many effective therapies when it comes to SAD and depression. Don’t try to self-diagnose or muscle through another season.


Fight Depression From The Cozy of Home

Finding convenient, hassle-free care shouldn’t be difficult. bonmente offers telepsychiatry services that are convenient, confidential, and as comprehensive as in-person appointments. With just a couple of clicks, from either your computer or your smartphone, you can be at your appointment with your bonmente provider, getting the care you need without any of the traditional hassle. Reach out today to find support for SAD, depression, or anxiety that may be triggered by the upcoming time change.


Fall is officially here! Cue up sweater season, daydream about apple picking, and roast a glass for the return of the ever-popular pumpkin spiced latte.


Things are changing all around us. The long summer days are fading away and a chill has started to settle in the air. Some people have been ready for fall since summer started. Others are already counting down the days until spring. No matter what your favorite time of year, embracing the change of the season helps you to be present and focused on the moment.

Despite the mood boost that may come from sipping on a pumpkin spiced latte, depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders tend to stick around regardless of the season. It’s that lingering gloom that’s the difference between having a bad day and suffering from depression.

As we welcome a new season of growth and change, it’s the perfect opportunity to do some self-reflection. Here are a few ways to check in on your mood this fall.

Evaluate Your Routine

Depression and other mental health disorders can creep up slowly and manifest in different ways. Sometimes depression can trigger small behavioral changes. Maybe you find it easier to polish off that pint of ice cream on the couch after an awful day. All of the fall activities and after-school commitments make it easy to skip the gym. Before you know it, these little things add up in BIG ways and add a heaviness to your mood.

Routines are essential at any stage of life, from childhood to adulthood. The key is creating healthy habits that lead to a lifestyle you can maintain. Start by writing down your daily routine and look for rituals you repeat.

  • Are they serving a purpose?
  • Do they bring you joy?
  • Do they cause stress?

Find ways to revamp your daily routine to pave the way to living a healthier, happier life.


Identify Your Emotional Triggers

What throws you into an automatic bad or anxious mood? A sound? A smell? The way the wind blows? Triggers are unique emotional responses to stimuli in our environment. As the saying goes, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Just like a flower, our well-being is linked to our environment. Our surroundings influence our behaviors and impact the way we feel. If your personal environment continuously sends cues and triggers that affect your mood negatively, it’s time for a change!

Take some time to reflect on areas of your personal environment that are holding you back from thriving. Identify your triggers (words, people, places, etc.) and be on the lookout so you can respond consciously instead of acting on reflex.

Practice (And Prioritize) Self-Care

We’ve all got way too much to do and not enough time to do it. It is so easy to put yourself second in order to meet the demands of everyone else, but studies show that does more harm than good. Self care means consciously doing things that support your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Acts of self care include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising, and going to necessary appointments. Self care also includes having brunch with old friends or going to visit a family member you miss. And at bonmente, self care means learning healthy ways to cope with emotions and being proactive in addressing mood shifts.

If you’re struggling to prioritize your self care, therapy can give you the tools and support you need to thrive in every season.

​“Therapy promotes understanding and communication, allowing people to improve their relationships, outlook, and self-esteem, ,” said Riz Ahmad, a psychiatrist at bonmente. “Participating in therapy is probably the most significant act of self care someone can do for themselves to improve their life.”

Turn Over A New Leaf This Fall With Bonmente

Sometimes taking the first step and reaching out for support is the hardest part. That’s why were doing things differently at bonmente. Our technology-forward practice utilizes telepsychiatry to give patients secure, confidential, and convenient access to expert practitioners. 

Let us help tease apart the messiness of mental health and give you the tools and support you need to move forward. Take control of anxiety, depression, and other common mental health disorders to unburden yourself of constant worry or sadness. Show yourself some love and reach out today for personalized support.