I Got the Blues, Ma, I Got the (Winter) Blues…
Everyone has a bummer day once in a while. As we continue in a winter that seems never-ending, those bummer days may seem to be happening more frequently. Sometimes they seem to stack up in the winter, like firelogs lined up against the garage in the darkness of the prolonged nights. This, friends, is the winter blues.
Shaking off those winter blues is not always easy! However, you are not helpless nor without resources. There are people in your life that can help, strategies and habits you can adopt and voila! A little less blue, a little more light.
So how to take on the winter blues? Well, there are as many ways as there are people who struggle with this (and that’s a lot!). Seasonal Affective Disorder which is the more serious form of the winter blues affects approximately 6-14% of Americans in varying degrees.
It’s important to remember that no one is an island. Your family, your doctor and other trained professionals can help. If you think you may have more than just the blues, get in and talk with your doctor. There are a several things that you can do to combat the blues including:
Exercise. Aside from shin splints, there really aren’t many things that aren’t helped by getting the blood flowing. But you knew that. Walking is great. If you can’t walk outside because of the snow (!), try a circuit at the mall. Or use your stairs as your own personal stairmaster!
Avoid sugar. Speaking of blood flow, high glycemic index foods (simple carbohydrates like white flour and the many forms of sugar) can cause blood sugar to flux wildly, which can have an effect on moods.
Get some light (literally). Light therapy is a noninvasive treatment for winter blues. It involves exposure to certain parts of the light spectrum and has been found to be quite effective for some people.
Get out and interact with people you love. These winter days may have made a hibernator out of you! Get out and see those people that make you smile.
Whatever your winter mood is – treat yourself and others with compassion. In these seemingly never-ending days of winter, we can all use a little extra smile and little more patience. And remember, winter WILL end – one of these days!
Originally published 2/18/14 on mammographykc.com.