Beat Back the Wintertime Blues
By Sheryl Kraft
Beat back the wintertime blues. Sad is more than just a word describing how you feel. It’s also a word for a real condition known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that comes around this time of year. Shorter days along with less sunlight can turn even the most upbeat person into a gloomy, more introverted one.
What follows? Symptoms similar to those of other forms of depression: hopelessness, increased appetite and sleep, weight gain, diminished energy, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, unhappiness and irritability.
Short of escaping to a warm-weather paradise — which might be a temporary fix — how can you get through the winter months and maintain a sunny disposition?
1. Use light therapy. Not just any light will do. Exposure to a special lamp with a very bright light that mimics natural outdoor light helps energize you and keep your circadian rhythm balanced. It also helps stimulate the same neurotransmitters as antidepressant medicines do. To mimic sunrise each morning, sit a couple of feet away from the light box for about 30 minutes. Keep your eyes open but do not look straight into the light.