Embracing Winter, Beat The Blues

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The holidays are over.  The days are shorter. Our boats are wrapped in “Saran wrap” and the Lake Living Lifestyle we know and love is only a memory.  And while we’ve had a rather mild winter, it seems that Spring and Summer aren’t even in our line of sight yet.  Coming to the realization that we are in the dead of winter can bring about some undesirable effects such as:

 

  • Fatigue

  • Boredom

  • Weight Gain

  • Excessive sleep

  • Not enough sleep

  • Loss of interest in being around people

  • Loss of interest in activities that would normally be interesting

If you can identify with the majority of the items on this list, don’t reach for the phone and call your doctor just yet; you’re not alone.

While all of the aforementioned items are associated with depression, they too, are clear signs of what is referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) or the winter blues.  S.A.D. affects about 10-20% of Americans-- the majority of the affected being from the more northern regions of the United States.  Although the symptoms are less than pleasurable, they tend to dissipate once the Spring and Summer months arrive.


How does this happen?  

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It is suggested that because our days are shorter, we have less exposure to sunlight; this has been linked by scientists as causing a biochemical imbalance in the brain.  For whatever reason, (one that is being studied currently) our brains are very sensitive to bright light--specifically sunlight.  When we have less of it (as in the winter months) it can have adverse effects.  Even digging deeper, the less light we are exposed to, our brain waves change.  The more they change, the less likely we are to enter into deep sleep at  night- which we all know--can cause major cranky days.

How do I treat this?

  1. Phototherapy- Phototherapy or light treatment is the use of extremely bright lights to treat those with mild depression.  This particular treatment comes in the form of boxes which are prescribed for a set amount of time and/or a certain time of day.  Possible side effects include headaches and eyestrain.

  2. Tanning- You've probably heard that regular tanning has been prescribed in the past to treat depression in the winter months.  This should only be a treatment if it’s something YOU want to do.  Tanning beds haven’t been proven to provide the right type of light-replacement to our bodies and they pose a cancer risk.  An alternative, doctors suggest, is vitamin D supplements.

  3. Vitamin D supplements- Vitamin D in our bodies is actually a byproduct of exposure to natural sunlight.  It is also found in certain types of fish, egg yolk, fortified Dairy (red cap milk), and fortified grains.  Deficiency in this vitamin hasn’t necessarily been a proven cause of depression, but Doctors have more reasons to believe it does than not.  If you’re feeling a little blue, taking a vitamin D supplement certainly won’t hurt you.

  4. Exercise- Get your heart pumping!  Exercising helps produce those “feel-good” endorphins in your brain.  Plus, going to a gym or some other workout facility might help you meet other people like you!  Once you go once or twice, you might start to feel that blueness fading away.

  5. Eating right- And, no-- I don’t mean “diet.”  We don’t even say the D word.  Eating right is simply putting into your body the nutrients necessary to be healthy and thrive.  If you’re constantly feeding your brain sugar and all sorts of other junk, your brain is going to feel like junk.  Eat to live-- don’t live to eat.

  6. Medication- S.A.D. has been proven to fade quickly and most medications take one-two months to fully kick in anyway.  If you’ve tried everything on this list and even more and you still don’t feel better, you might consider talking to your doctor.snowyoga-w.jpg

  7. 7. Yoga and meditation- Yoga and meditation might look passive on the outside..but on the inside, it has many uplifting benefits. These ancients practices have been known and proven to assist with state of mind while improving balance, tone, flexibility and more!

  8. Also check out our Blog, Winter can be an Adventure for other ideas of what to do in the winter at Apple Valley Lake.

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Get out of the blues and look for a lake home! Call the Apple Valley Lake Team, Toth and Team, to help with that! 844-411-LAKE (5253) www.AppleValleyLakeOhio.com

Email us at info@tothandteam.com

 

**Disclaimer: This information in this post are for informational purposes only.  I am not a doctor and am not certified to give prescriptive advice.  If you or anyone you know suffers from depression that lasts longer than a week or two, please call your doctor.