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Conquering the Winter Blues

February 14, 2012 475 No of hits
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Conquering the Winter Blues

Winter is stressful. In earlier times, many people didn't survive the winter, and many animals in the wild do not. The light deprivation caused by shorter days affects our circadian rhythms. Greater time spent indoors means we are exposed to more contagious illnesses and are getting less exercise. Most people eat and sleep more in winter. All of this can bring on changes in mood, which range from so-called "winter blues" at the mild end of the spectrum, to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The winter blues are characterized by mild versions of the following symptoms: sleep problems, overeating, lethargy, depression, and physical complaints. SAD is a more severe version of the same issues. It is a form of Major Depression with onset in fall or winter and remission in spring. SAD is characterized by oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, lack of pleasure in activities, and lethargy. It accounts for one in three cases of depression in cold climates. Not surprisingly, people in northern regions suffer the worst. SAD occurs in less than 1% of the population of Florida, 2-5% in British Columbia, Canada, and 9.2% in Alaska.

Following are some strategies to prevent or reduce both winter blues and SAD:

* Increase your level of activity. Get some vigorous exercise every day.

* Install good quality lighting in your home and office.

* Increase your exposure to daylight. Make it a point to get outside during the much shorter window of daylight.

* Try an outdoor winter sport.

* Take a vacation to somewhere sunny in the middle of winter.

* Spend time with positive, uplifting people.

If you still feel depressed, get help. Depression is a treatable illness, and 80-90 percent of people who seek help get significantly better, often within a few weeks. The most effective treatments for SAD are medication, counseling, and light therapy. In the latter, you are exposed to bright artificial light, which mimics sunlight and is thought to cause changes in brain chemicals associated with mood.

Tags:   Conquering the Winter Blues   Winter   Blues   SAD   Light   Daylight  

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Winter is stressful. In earlier times, many people didn't survive the winter, and many animals in the wild do not. The light deprivation caused by shorter days affects our circadian rhythms. Greater time spent indoors means we are exposed to more contagious illnesses and are getting less exercise....

By: Richard Martine Created 76 months ago

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