For many people, winter is a down and depressing time. Often we don’t want to go out and contend with bad roads or cold weather. We end up cooped up in our homes, in the dark, getting lonely. For lots of us, it also means the loss of our usual hobbies and activities that rejuvenate us like hiking, golfing, gardening, and many other outdoor activities. As a result, our mood often takes a downturn and we can get to feeling depressed.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
For others, winters spell the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a subtype of depression that occurs seasonally due to the reduction in exposure to sunlight. Late sunrise and early sunset have many of us going to work in the dark and returning home in the dark. Being covered in pants and long sleeves also reduces the amount of skin that can soak up the vitamin D that sunlight does provide. These variables induce a change in body chemistry that drives this depression. The only upside is that it lifts naturally in the spring and summer months.
If you are looking for some ways to beat the winter blues, here are some ideas that have some science and research behind them.
- Get more sunlight: You can open those blinds, sit closer to the window, expose that skin, or even get some supplemental UV rays by getting a photo light therapy box, which has proven quite effective for many dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Exercise: This seems to be the universal fix for many things, including your mood. Getting your heart rate up and releasing those endorphins can help brighten your mood.
- Listen to music: One study found that listening to upbeat and cheery music had a positive effect on mood.
- Plan your next vacation: Research found that even the act of planning a vacation increased overall happiness.
- Helping others in need: Volunteering your time to those in need has been shown to improve life satisfaction and purpose.
If you are concerned your winter blues may be turning into depression, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can help you assess what is going on and treat it before it worsens. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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