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The Winter Blues

January 6, 2015 - Barb Barrett
Do you suffer from the winter blues? It is estimated that roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) according to the Dept. of Health. This should not be confused with post holiday blues or depression. SAD is physiological and not caused by a situational sadness. Most of us are affected by the changing seasons, and who doesn't get depressed when the sun doesn't shine. Those who suffer from SAD have a greater sensitivity to the lack of light in the winter, and the shorter days. Being exposed to bright light can help treat SAD. I keep all 21 windows in my home open with no light blocking shades or drapery. I use sheers and blinds to close at night. I love nights with the full moon because it looks like the day is extended somewhat.

Some SAD symptoms include change in appetite or weight gain, a craving for sweet or starchy foods, change in sleep patterns, decreased concentration, irritability and decreased creativity. If you find yourself suffering from this disorder that results from several overcast days (normal in our time zone here), fortunately there are some steps you can take to diminish SAD.

Bring exposure into the rooms with bright light or a special light box if you work in a windowless room. Try to get outdoors for a given time each day, or you might want to work with a health professional to determine proper treatment. Usually a half hour of light therapy every morning can help the situation, even if you don't suffer from SAD. Don't let the winter blues get you down! Happy 2015!


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