Surviving the Winter Blues
Who knew? The longstanding joke about the winter blues is actually no joke at all! The technical term for it is Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD…ironic isn’t it?). And it doesn’t just happen in the winter either. Sometimes, although not nearly as often, it can occur in the spring and stretch through to fall.
The research for this is still fresh, but most scientists agree that it has something to do with sunlight, and how it affects certain chemicals within our brain. They are still not sure how it affects people during the spring and summer months, but it makes perfect sense for the winter blues.
If you think about it, the days are shorter and so there is less sunlight in general. When the sun is up, it is usually cloudy which reduces the amount of sunlight we can absorb anyway. And finally, as Canadians, well frankly its cold out there! Who wants to go traipsing out in the wind and snow if they don’t have to?
The good news is that there is a simple cure for the basic winter blues. Get more sunlight. If we happen to get a nice day, go for a short walk. Even 10-15 minutes can make a difference. And for those who prefer to “bear down” and hibernate for the winter, simple changes like opening your curtains and blinds and adjusting your furniture so that you are sitting by a window when you want to relax. Take time to sit by the window and read a book.
If you have a more serious case of SAD and these simple things aren’t making improvements, it is imperative that you go to see your doctor. The fact is, the majority of the time this is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. You need to have this addressed early to ensure a speedy recovery. Most importantly, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Too often we shrug off what we deem as embarrassing when it is not only common, but serious as well.
Don’t put it off. Prevent it if you can, seek help if you can’t.
The Mayo Clinic – www.mayoclinic.org