Reduce the Effects of Winter and S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Avoid Wintertime Depression with These Health Tips

Copyright © 2013 ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Author’s Google profile; Posted January 6, 2013


Heavy winter snowfall; photo courtesy Matthew R Dunn


Seattle has been called the “Suicide Capital of the United States” because the effects of winter are so dreary due to scant sunshine during winter the months accompanied by nearly constant rain, snow, and dull skies.

This mind-dulling combination can lead to seasonal affective disorder in many people. This is a depressing, lethargic condition mainly attributed to a steady lack of sunshine.

Of course, almost everyone loses some enthusiasm and zest for life in these conditions, but if your symptoms are more profound and alter your normal lifestyle, you may be experiencing S.A.D.

Fortunately, methods have been identified to ward off some of the effect. The following five tips might just boost your spirits; try them out!

  1. Relocate.

    Granted, this is the most extreme solution, but if you fear you might join the suicide club, it may be well worth considering.

    I grew up in Panama, in the tropics, where we basically had rainy season and dry season. Even during rainy season we would experience a gully-washer for an hour or so followed by humidity-producing bright sunshine.

    I knew nothing about the winter blues until I moved to Maine. Luckily, I wasn’t affected but I saw plenty of people who were. You might consider Florida, Texas, or California.

  2. Light Therapy.

    Why? Because the lack of sunshine is your real enemy, not the freezing temps. Following a succession of days of cloudy gray above and beyond, a shift when the sun breaks through feels like heaven.

    Haven’t you felt it? Even popular songs identify cheerfulness with sunshine. We are wired that way; your body and brain need vitamin D to stay on track.

    When the sun breaks through in the winter, bundle up, go outside, and take a leisurely stroll in the sun. If those conditions just are not happening, think about buying a “S.A.D. Lamp’ for light therapy.

    Remember the light visor used in the old show Twin Peaks? This lamp is produces a bright light that mimics the rays of the sun. It is an inexpensive, non-invasive, common-sense solution.

  3. Seek Professional Help.

    Seasonal affective disorder often results in a serious case of depression. If you are really feeling blue and know that you have this condition, please enlist the help of a professional.

    He or she can assist you in coping using cognitive therapy or by even prescribing an antidepressant medication. The worst thing you can do is avoid this kind of help because you think it is ’weird’.

  4. Try a Melatonin Supplement.

    This is a naturally-occurring compound commonly found in plants and animals. It is basically a hormone that assists in regulating your circadian rhythm and in establishing a consistent sleeping cycle.

    This is why it is often recommended for individuals that tend to experience sleep disorders. It is hypothesized that supplementing with melatonin may help tame the winter blues.

    Follow the instructions on this over-the-counter supplement of consult with your doctor about the correct dosage and use if you are apprehensive about taking meds (or sups).

  5. Hang Out with Friends.

    Socialize; have fun; make the good times happen. Many people are less active in the winter and tend to stay inside in the cozy warmth rather than venturing out in the cold to socialize.

    But good conversation and a shared laugh or two is well-known to control depression. Go to a party, indulge in a movie. Better still, join a running club or a gym and combine socializing with endorphins.

Reducing the effects of the winter blues can be accomplished with one or a combination of the techniques outlined above. Got more suggestions of your own? Share them with our readers in the comment section below.

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