Six Things to Know About the Winter Blues - The Nebraska Medical Center

Uploaded by NebraskaMedCenter on 02.12.2011

Seasonal effective disorder is commonly known as the winter blues. It includes symptoms
of depression such as poor energy, fatigue, decreased attention and concentration, irritability
and general sadness.
It’s not because you are around your in-laws at the holidays it is because you are not
getting enough exposure to the sun. There are decreased daylight hours and generally
speaking your activity level decreases during these months so your body doesn’t regenerate
its own energy as well. This decreased energy depletes your mind and your body of its ability
to think, feel good and carry on the activities you normally do.
One of the things is to stay active. If there is anything that is going to help beat the
blues it’s going to be exercise or just being active. This is not necessarily physical
activity but also social activity, staying plugged in to your social outlets, using your
social resources. Also maintaining your diet and maintaining good hydration.
Take on a new hobby and do something new in your life. Those things promote energy and
it’s all about keeping that energy up during those winter months.
These cloudy days and these long winter days do bring us down. If you can get away for
a vacation to the south, if you have that luxury, then you absolutely should. The more
sun exposure you can get during these months the better. Individuals who live in states
where there are longer winter days generally experience more of those winter blues.
Talk to your doctor because everyone is different and different treatments work for different
people. Some people use light therapy, some use vitamin supplements and some just need
counseling to help them get through some stressors. Help your family member or your friend reduce
their stress level and just be there to listen to their stresses so you can help them to
feel better.
If you have had depression or anxiety in the past you are at greater risk for these increased
symptoms during this time of year. If you have experienced seasonal effective disorder
in past years you are most likely to experience it again. Pay attention to your symptoms,
know your body and do something about it. Be proactive and create a routine that will
work for you to stay busy, stay active and be healthy.
Start planning right now. Start creating a regiment for yourself of exercise and general
activity, keeping up with your friends and family, plugging into those social outlets
and maintaining a good well-balanced diet.