As the days get shorter, many people find themselves feeling blue or getting into a slump. Some people have more serious mood changes year after year, lasting throughout the fall and winter when there’s less natural sunlight. winter blues
What is it about the darkening days that can leave us down in the dumps? And what can we do about it?
NIH-funded researchers have been studying the “winter blues” and a more severe type of depression called a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, for more than 3 decades. Winter blues are fairly common, and it’s more mild than serious, usually clearing up on it’s own in a fairly short amount of time, and are often linked to stressful holidays or reminders of absent loved ones.
Winter blues can lead to a gloomy outlook and make people feel hopeless, worthless, and irritable. They may lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, such as hobbies and spending time with friends.
Here are some options you may want to explore to help you handle SAD.
1. Light Therapy
NIH researchers first recognized the link between light and seasonal depression back in the early 1980s and suggested light therapy to replace the missing daylight hours and make people feel a bit better. In light therapy, patients generally sit in front of a light box every morning for 30 minutes or more. Studies have shown that light therapy relieves SAD symptoms for as much as 70% of patients after a few weeks of treatment.
2. Daily Walks
Even if individuals cannot access lightbox facilities in countries like Pakistan where the sun still comes out, a walk in your garden is a great way to help you feel better.
3. Healthy Eating
Try to have healthy foods. One can always have a hot chocolate and a book to feel relaxed and cozy. Drinking hot tea and soup may also help. Just try to have a more positive outlook.
Other things that may help you rid yourself of the winter blues and feel like you are in top shape are listening to music, and surrounding yourself with family.
Cover Image Via Avera & MSNBC