How to Overcome the Winter Blues

Boots have replaced sandals, sweaters are covering up beach bodies, and iced coffee is now an anomaly. The dog days of winter are upon us.

After the holiday line-up of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, the onset of seasonal depression comes in full-swing.

The Winter Blues, formally known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a mood disorder in which people are fine for most of the year, but become unusually depressed in the winter or summer. It is more prevalent at higher latitudes and is most common in younger people and women.

Related symptoms include oversleeping, lack of energy, overeating, and anxiousness or mood swings. Because the days in winter are short, people with Seasonal Affective Disorder generally lose interest in daily activities and sleep more because darkness disrupts the body’s internal clock by increasing melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain that tells the body when to sleep and wake up.

Because the next great generation has enough to worry about with the current job climate, student loans, and what exactly to buy moms for Christmas, here are some recommendations for staving off the winter blues.

  • Go out in the daylight as much as possible, or at least on your lunch break. On weekends, try to plan outdoor activities like a walk or run.
  • Exercise regularly, try to take a class you wouldn’t normally take like spinning, Pilates, or a group weight training class.
  • Invest in a light therapy box.
  • Spruce up your office space with something that makes you smile.
  • Set your alarm to wake up ten or fifteen minutes earlier.
  • Plan a trip to a warm destination.

There are many different treatments for seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy, medication, and positive psychotherapy which works to increase positive emotions in depressed clients. But exposure to light is said to be the most effective treatment.

Winter truly is a wonderland if you don’t let the weather drag you down.