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How To Avoid The Winter Blues

Have you ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There are many different forms to depression, and a mood disorder specified with a seasonal pattern means that depressive symptoms appear during fall or winter months and remit in the spring and summer.

So why does this happen?

If you live in areas with polar climates, the winter can be brutal. In a way it forces you to isolate on snowed in days and often it can feel way too cold to enjoy a lot of the activities that you might have done during the spring or summer. This can cause people's moods to fluctuate, and a lot of what they found joy in diminishes through those rough cold months.

For me personally, another issue that has affected my depression during this season are the holidays. I come from a family-oriented background. Holidays were always about spending time with each other, but when my father died in 2007 things began to change and because he was the man that held my family together I noticed that the holidays brought forth more sorrow than joy. It has taken years for me to bounce back and learn how to heal without his presence.

There are more natural factors that also play a part in seasonal depression. Rather than try to spell it out for you I retrieved this information from

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
So what are the signs that you may be struggling with the winter blues?

  1. Irritability
  2. Tiredness or low energy
  3. Feeling sluggish or agitated
  4. Having difficulty concentrating
  5. Appetite changes
  6. Weight Gain
  7. Having low energy
  8. Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

                  And how can you put together a wellness plan to beat this thing?

                  1. Exercise regularly: this helps to relieve stress and anxiety
                  2. Go outside: remember that reduce natural lighting can cause and onset of SAD, so try going for a run or a walk, and if you are indoors keep you blinds open so that light can come in elevate your aura.
                  3. Omega-3 fatty acids: Though these studies are still being intensely monitored, omega fatty acids has shown to enhance brain functioning including your moods and aspect of your personality

                  *understand that if your symptoms worsen and you begin to have thoughts of suicide then please seek medical attention.

                  So what are your wellness plans for this fall/winter?

                  photo by lisa fatios

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