For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and darker. Snow flakes, fireplaces, hot chocolate and cozy sweaters will be making their appearances in the near future. For some, it’s a time of growing darkness and despair. Many individuals suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) during the winter months, also known as the winter blues, which is usually due to less sunlight hours. Symptoms of SAD and winter blues can be similar to symptoms of depression and may also include less energy, fatigue, trouble concentrating, increased desire to be alone, weight gain, increased need for sleep, anxiety, and irritability.
Here are some strategies to prepare for the winter blues:
- Replace your regular light bulbs with full-spectrum bulbs, especially in places where you spend the most early to mid-evening hours.
- Make sure your Vitamin D levels are high enough. Also consider supplementing with a good-quality B complex, and trying an Omega 3 supplement.
- Start eating better, leafy greens, vegetables, good proteins, and whole grains will help give you steady energy and the nutrition you need. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- A “light alarm clock” is a SAD therapy tool that can help with depression symptoms, especially getting up in the morning. Early in the morning, a light begins to shine at a low level, gradually growing brighter, until it’s time to wake up.
- Exercise daily. Even 15 minutes a day is better than nothing, and outside in the daylight is more beneficial.
- Volunteer or get involved in social activities. One or two nights of volunteer work, or other activities like taking a class that require active involvement with others gives a feeling of purpose and helps through the winter months.
Seek a therapist if you suffer from the winter blues, it’s easier to begin a preventative program before the winter blues become a reality. Call today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251