Dealing With The Dark Days Of Winter
With Daylight Savings Time upon us, the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting much, much colder. And while we’re still about six weeks away from winter officially starting, this is the time of year when some people start getting hit hard by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
For some, SAD is just a general feeling of lethargy, but it can also quickly become a more full-blown form of depression. Basically, the lack of sunlight forces your brain to work harder to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Basically, the longer days can play tricks with your sleep cycle, leading to poorer sleep and negative emotions.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to nip any bouts of seasonal depression in the bud. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
It’s incredible how exercise can be a real cure-all, but it’s really one of our body’s best defenses. Ideally, try to go outside for a run or walk when it’s sunny out. This will help your body absorb more Vitamin D, which not only helps strengthen your bones but has also been shown to be linked to mood improvement. Additionally, maintaining a good level of physical activity will trigger both adrenaline and dopamine, two chemicals in the brain that help maintain higher levels of energy and positive feelings.
Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, we’re heading into the most tempting time of year in terms of eating rich, heavy, fatty foods. What makes it even harder is that our bodies naturally crave fattier foods when the weather gets cold to help us stay insulated in the winter. It can be really challenging when both the office and home are filled with treats of all sorts, but it’s important to maintain a healthy diet even during these colder months. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and balancing them with the less healthy options that might surround you, will help ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate mood.
Get a Sun Lamp
If you are feeling really down during the longest, darkest days, it might be worthwhile to get a sun lamp. This is a particularly good substitute for getting natural sunlight if you live in an area where the winters are mostly gray and cloudy. By using a sun lamp for only 30 minutes every morning, your body will feel like it’s still getting enough natural sunlight.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to get help as quickly as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our medical specialist, who can help diagnose the situation and make a personalized recommendation.
Call us in Maryland at 301-703-8767, in Pennsylvania at 724-603-3560, or in Virginia 540-433-1905 to make an appointment or use the form on our site to send us a message.