Ok so winter is here and you are feeling a little bit worse for wear. The year has been a long one and all you want to do now is curl up into a ball and wait for next year to arrive, surviving in the mean time on junk food and leftover turkey washed down with the occasional bottle of wine. As much as most of us love this idea it may not always be for the reasons we expect. Seasonal depression is a serious problem in northern hemisphere countries, the winter blues is more than a simple expression; it is actually a medical disorder. But before you go running off to the doctor to get yourself check out there are some steps you can take to help reduce the affect it has on your day to day life.
The first step in fighting the winter blues is to understand that it is actually a chemical imbalance. Your body produces too much melatonin and not enough serotonin. The reason for this is lack of exposure to normal daylight. You can easily counter this by getting yourself into the daylight as soon as you wake up. When you get out of bed open all the curtains and let some light shine into your home. If you have a garden, patio or balcony wrap up warm and take your money coffee outside. Spending just 20 minutes in the morning standing out in the sun can lift your mood for the entire day.
Exercise can be a great way of boosting your serotonin levels to normal and will help you fight off seasonal depression. Try taking the dog for a walk in the morning or if you don’t have a dog, walk to work or simply around the block. You do not have to be a major athlete to feel the benefits of regular exercise and you do not even have to push yourself that hard, just get the heart pumping a little. Light therapy has been used by many people to help with the winter blues. You can buy special lamps that emit up to 10,000lux compared to a normal light bulb that emits about 300lux. You simply need to spend somewhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours a day sat with the lamp shining on you. You can use these lamps to artificially increase the length of a day to make your body more comfortable with the routine off getting up in the morning and sleeping at night. You could even go to the length of changing the light bulbs in your home to full spectrum bulbs which emit about 2,500lux giving you somewhat of a middle ground.
Above all else, you can avoid seasonal depression by wrapping up warm when you leave the house. Your general mood is never helped by getting cold. Remember to take measure to prevent any depression rather than trying to cure the effects afterwards. You never know, maybe this winter will go by quicker than you expected.
Article by Hari Seldon.