Feeling Down?

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Outside the rain patters on the roof-tops, the sky is blanket shade of mid-grey and there is a distinct chill in the air.

There, doesn’t that make you feel … well not so good.

As winter arrives the Northern hemisphere, many people feel their mood changing. Some of us are only slightly affected, whilst some find there lives almost transformed, as if they are a different person in the winter time.

People who are very social and active in the summer time can find themselves becoming almost a recluse as winter bites, not having the energy or will to go out much.

This phenomena has become known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in psychology circles.

The main cause is thought to be the reduced sun light during the winter months, due to the shorter and often cloudy days.

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So, what can be done about it?

Here are some suggestions on what can often help sufferers of SAD:

Buy a light box:
These are sun light substitutes, and the idea is that you sit in front of them whilst reading (for example) for 20 minutes or more per day.

People often report feeling better within 2 weeks of using them.

Stay Warm:
This may seem self-evident, but keeping your body temperature up during the cold weather can also help.

Winter Vaccations:
If you can get away to a sunny and warm place during the winter, this helps break the cycle.

Regular Exercise:
You may not feel like it, but doing regular exercise boost your metabolism.

Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake:
Cut down on the things you crave, which often accompany SAD., as are just temporary fixes to make you feel better.

Reduce Stressful Activities:
If you have less energy and enthusiasm, then take on less in the winter months.

Sleep Less:
There is often a craving to sleep longer and more often with SAD, almost as if you go into semi-hibernation. Unfortunately, this sleep is seldom refreshing, so cut it down.

Counselling:
You may find this supportive.

Move Somewhere Sunny:
Sounds a bit drastic, but if you are severely affected by SAD, this may be an option to consider.

For full details on SAD and what you can do about it, I recommend Dr. Rosenthal’s excellent book:

Winter Blues, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

© David R. Durham

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Note: This is a re-post of a blog I published back in 2009.

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