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Seasonal Affective Disorder - Beat the Winter Blues!

Updated on January 17, 2010
Many people become depressed during the winter.
Many people become depressed during the winter.

Many people suffer from depression….but did you know that some people become MORE depressed during the cold, winter months? Each autumn, as the days grow shorter (and colder), many people begin to slowly dip into a depression that often lasts until spring has…well, sprung. This condition, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder affects millions of people and many sufferers don't understand why their "spirit" suddenly slumps just because the thermometer dips.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD), is a form of depression that is most likely to occur during the winter. For some people, the condition is so severe they often find it difficult to go about their daily routine (jobs, relationships and health often suffer). Individuals that have mild cases of SAD often gain weight during the winter and lack energy. They often want to sleep the days away (kind of like a bear in hibernation!). Usually, when Spring arrives, their symptoms fade away and life returns to normal.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is relatively new (at least it wasn't given an official name until the 1980s). Though doctors and researchers don't fully understand SAD they do believe that it has to do with light that is received by the brain through the eyes. There is no specific test that can be performed on a person to officially determine if they suffer from SAD, however, a diagnosis can usually be reached by studying the symptoms that a person suffers between the months of October and April.

If you believe that you have Seasonal Affective Disorder and are suffering with bouts of depression it is very important that you make an appointment to meet with your doctor. Depression CAN BE TREATED so there is no need to suffer alone! It is especially important that you meet with your doctor if you are severely depressed. There is nothing to be ashamed of as depression affects MILLIONS of people and as I mentioned before…there is no need to deal with your depression alone....GET HELP!

Buy a light box!
Buy a light box!

Lift Your Spirit!

If you believe that you have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder there are a few things you can do in order to lift your spirits. Every person is different…so some of these tips may work for one person…but not another. Good Luck!

Bring in the Sun!

There are several products on the market that you can buy that actually replicate natural light (without the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays). Specially designed light boxes and lamps help to counteract the winter blues and lift spirits! Do a quick on-line search to find SAD lights and other products! If you suffer from SAD you will be glad you did!

A light visor can improve your mood and beat the blues!
A light visor can improve your mood and beat the blues!

Lighten Things Up!

Maybe it is time to redecorate your home…or at least the rooms in which you spend the majority of your time! Lighten and brighten your favorite rooms by adding colorful paint, happy art -work, and light colored carpeting. It is also important to open the drapes and lift the blinds in order to let the light shine in!

Ask for a Window Seat!

If Seasonal Affective Disorder is affecting your performance at work…ask for a desk (or cubicle) that is located near a window. Sitting by a light source often has mood enhancing benefits! If you don't think your boss will agree with your request, get a doctor's note before talking to him or her.

Exercise!

I know, not the tip you were hoping for, however, exercise can work wonders not only on a person's body but their mind as well! No matter whether you walk, job, cycle or take an aerobics class, exercise increases mood-boosting chemicals within the brain that can help when it comes to getting rid of the winter blues (not to mention how happy you will be when summer arrives and you look and feel spectacular!).

Time to Move!

Though moving isn't a realistic solution for everyone, if you suffer from a severe case of Seasonal Affective Disorder moving may be the best way to cope. It is a fact that the further South you go…the fewer cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder you will find. According to recent studies, only 1.4% of Floridians suffer from the "winter blues."

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real condition that affects many people (the warm weather leaves and the "blues" set in!). Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your mood during the cold winter months. If you are severely depressed (and not just during the winter) it is VERY important that you make an appointment with your doctor and discuss not only your symptoms…but how you are feeling as well. Good luck and may your light shine bright….all year round!

 

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