Although daylight has started to lengthen, you may still be suffering from “The Winter Blues”. Essentially, “The Blues” is an offset of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If the lack of sunlight and frigid weather seem to impact you more than normal, you may be part of the 15% of the population who suffers from SAD. Do you lose interest in your normal activities? Feel hopeless or anxious? Are you having trouble concentrating? Have you withdrawal from family and friends? Are you fatigued (despite sleeping) and irritable? If you answered yes to most of these questions and have experienced these symptoms for two consecutive winter seasons, you may want to consider the following remedies:
Sunlight. Although the weather is cold, bundle up and try to spend 10-15 minutes outside on sunny days or pull up a chair next to that sliver of light coming in through your kitchen window. Don’t forget your Vitamin D supplement!
Light Therapy. Available at many medical supply stores, these boxes emit bright light that mimics the outdoors. It appears to affect brain chemicals that induce happier states in just a few days. Speak with your healthcare provider before use.
Movement. It’s probably the hardest time of the year to exercise, but if you can muster the energy to do so, you’ll release endorphins and adrenaline that can produce a sense of well-being. Sometimes starting is the hardest part, so invite a friend to join.
Mind-Body Therapies. Can’t imagine meditating? If you suffer from SAD, this may be the perfect time to try. Sign up for a class. Any deep-breathing or relaxing exercise such as meditation, yoga, massage can help relax and restore the body and mind. It may even help foster an environment where optimism can grow.
Smiling. It’s okay if you have to fake it. The elevation of your cheeks has been shown to lower stress hormones, regardless of whether or not the movement is genuine.
If you suffer from SAD, the best thing you can do is be prepared. Once Autumn rolls around, start implementing your strategies to combat “The Blues”. And even in your darkest moments remember that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. For more guidance on combating SAD, contact Alliance at 1.877.687.7380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.