Beat winter blues
Shorter days and cold
temperatures often contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes
called “the winter blues.”
This is a type of mild depression that usually occurs
during cold months when there is less daylight. The condition is characterized
by feeling sad, moody or tired. One in five Americans experiences SAD and 75%
are women, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
It is important to distinguish between the winter blues and
clinical depression. The term "depression" is often used generically
to describe feeling sad, unhappy, stressed, fatigued or unwell. But this
characterization can be misleading. While feelings associated with the blues
can be unsettling, they are often temporary and mild.
Depression is a serious
condition with symptoms that linger, occurring nearly every day for at least
two weeks. Depression causes a level of distress or impairment that interferes
with work, self-care and social activities. If you think you might have
depression, it is best to see a medical professional to discuss treatment.Feeling blue?
is a scientific basis for SAD, which has to do with a decrease in sunlight
during the winter. Sunlight enters the brain through the eyes, stimulating the
production of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, that supports nerve cell
functioning and mood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Less light results in lower
serotonin levels. Darkness prompts the production of melatonin, which promotes
sleep. The combination of lower serotonin and increased melatonin levels often
results in SAD.
Following are some tips that may be helpful in
fighting the winter blues.