Sunday, November 21, 2010

The "Winter Blues"

      As the days get shorter and colder, it is found that more people suffer from depression. Its not just any normal depression though, its seasonal depression. Although people get excited for winter activities and the new year, more people are feeling the "winter blues."
       According to Cleveland Clinic, its estimated that at least 10 to 20% of the population suffers from some sort of seasonal depression brought on by shorter days. And an additional 4 to 6% of North Americans suffer from a more extreme cases of the "winter blues" called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (Cook paragraph 2). This disorder is related to insufficient light and disruption in the pineal gland which secretes Melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone which helps you sleep. Because of the shorter days and less exposure to light people feel tired all the time and "down in the dumps." I for one am one of those people that suffer from this. I can't help but hate winter because I dislike the cold and how tired and grumpy I get. People who suffer from the "winter blues" may show symptoms like: change in appetite, change in sleep patterns, oversleep more, avoidance of social situations, irritability, and decreased energy.
      There are ways to beat the winter blues and avoid the depression. The first suggestion would be to get outside! Even some exposure to natural outdoor light helps brighten your mood. You can benefit from it even when its cloudy outside. The next thing you can do is change your light bulbs. Because light exposure is such a critical element to this seasonal depression, changing light bulbs will also help lighten your mood. Simply changing your usual office light bulbs to full spectrum light bulbs will help. Full spectrum light bulbs are more bright and have different rays of color. Your also supporting "going green" using these light bulbs.
        Another suggestion to beat the blues is exercise regularly. Exercise can help relieve stress and anxiety and obviously help keep you in shape. It can also help keep you in a more positive mood with endorphins pumping though you. According to Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can decrease the seasonal depression. You could go all out and even exercise outside. Finally, remember your intake of vitamins. Be sure to watch your diet and eat healthy. The most important vitamin this time of year is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the best replacement for the lack of sunlight we get this time of year. Also, Vitamin B is critical because it helps with emotions, with the lack of light and being tired all the time people get very emotional and stressed. You can easily go to your local pharmacy and purchase these vitamins.
      Just because summer and the warm days are gone does not mean you have to live with the "winter blues." If you try to get outside, change your light bulbs, exercise regularly, and remember to take your vitamins you can beat the blues and enjoy the season. Bright light back into your days.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I can tell I feel like this too sometimes, its nice when the sun is up until 8 or 9 pm in the summer but this time of year its kind of a drag when its already dark at 5pm when most people are just getting off work.