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What to do about the winter blues PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Joann Schaefer
NE Dept. of H.H.S.

Have you noticed your energy  level decreasing?  Feeling a bit blue? The hubbub of the new year has come and gone. Days are still short. Nights are long. There’s more darkness compared to sunshine and darn that cold. Will spring ever get here?   
All of this, especially the lack of sunlight, can leave us with a common condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.  
With SAD, you may feel down or tired, just not yourself.  SAD is very common and very “fixable” with a few tricks.  
Therapy with full-spectrum light exposure using a light box has been very helpful.  This involves exposing yourself to this bright light for several minutes a day mimicking sunlight (without the harmful UV rays) and can be as easy as putting a light source at home or in the office.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention to watch out for signs of clinical depression that include sleeping or eating too much, or too little or not enjoying activities that you previously enjoyed.
It’s important in both cases to reach out to a support network–friends and family matter!  Lean on them when feeling down and most importantly, try to get out and stay active during the winter even if that means connecting with friends over a favorite board or video game in front of a roaring fire. The point is to spend some time together and support each other.