Preventing The Winter Blues:
Updated: Dec 4, 2018
The weather is getting cooler and days are getting shorter. Before we know it, we’ll be right into the holiday season. For many, winter is a hap py time where you gather with friends and family. For some, however, it doesn’t always translate to happiness. Activities slow down, you spend less time outside and get less fresh air. You may blame it on the winter blues, but it could be something more serious. It could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The Mayo Clinic defines SAD as “a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”
Main symptoms of SAD include:
There are three main factors at play when looking at causes of seasonal depression. First, the reduced amount of sunlight in colder months disrupts your body’s biological clock. Next, reduced sunlight also drops your body’s serotonin levels which affects mood. Lastly, the change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which messes with your sleep patterns.
In an effort to combat seasonal depression, you can:
Go sunnier. Make your environment sunnier and brighter during the colder months. Open blinds and sitting next to the window, and wear brighter colors. Try using a UV light therapy box to simulate natural sunlight when indoors.
Get outside. It may be hard during those bone chilling days, but just a few minutes a day can help in the long run.
Exercise regularly. Working out helps to boost your mood and combat that inevitable winter weight gain.
Remember, occasionally feeling “off” is normal, but if your mood affects your daily life and relationships or hinders you from performing simple tasks, seek medical assistance.
Note: The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider with questions. Need a new provider? Consider Montgomery Medical Associates