This has got to be one of the harshest winters on record (again!) – repeated snow storms, drought then flooding rains in other areas and colder temperatures overall in most parts of the country.
Because the winter weather has been more severe, the conditions are ripe for seeing more people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter depression and their symptoms being more severe as well. Generally, the winter doldrums last from around October through April, and your body responds normally to the dwindling daylight hours and cooler weather. Most of us have experienced a day or two of feeling trapped in winters fist.
The severity of your sensitivity to winter’s trials are balanced over many factors:
Geography – where you live matters. If you’re in the northern states, you’re likely to feel the winter blues more acutely.
Genetics – A predisposition to melancholy or depression will certainly matter in how you are affected during the winter months.
Personal Brain Chemistry – Which is alterable by so many different factors – kinds of food you eat, any vitamin deficiencies you may face, any medication you may be on – even winter gets to play its part in altering your brain chemicals – specifically melatonin production increases over winter, in an effort to try and regulate your sleep/wake cycle – and in some cases, your body just can’t get it right.
Illness – As we are already subjected to colder, stormier weather, and less daylight – winter also corresponds with cold and flu season – and there have been some links made between suffering from being sick kicking off a round of melancholy as well.
If you find yourself wondering what you can do to feel better, happier and more energized during the winter months, take a look at these options:
Light, Light and More Light – whether it means bundling up and meeting the brisk but sunny day head-on for a short while each mid-day, or installing a sun-mimicking light in your breakfast nook or at your desk, or perhaps both, do try and get as much daylight exposure as possible. (no, indoor fluorescent lights don’t count – they don’t have the same effect as specialized lamps designed to mimic the positive aspects of sunshine)
Get your Vitamin D and all your other normal levels checked. If you are deficient in Vitamin D, you could be fighting an uphill battle working for a good mood in winter. An adequate vitamin D level is important to mood and mental health. SEE ALSO: Lift Your Mood with Vitamin D This Winter!
If you know you suffer in winter, can plan your vacation in January or February to a sunny climate? Instead of a summer vacation, make it a winter vacation instead!