How to Beat the Winter Blues

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Sarah Shapley and Kennedy Peterson work to fight seasonal depression during the cold winter months. Photo courtesy Sari Christensen

Sarah Shapley and Kennedy Peterson work to fight seasonal depression during the cold winter months.
Photo courtesy Sari Christensen

Do you ever feel like you get an intense SAD feeling in the winter? If so, then you aren’t alone. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Seasonal Depression or Winter Depression. Between the cold, and the shorter days of winter, depression and feelings of loneliness are more common.

The first step to solving SAD is to understand why people feel so down in the winter time. Scientists are still trying to figure out all the aspects of what causes Winter Depression. The most common factor among people with Seasonal Depression is the fact that they live in places that in the winter have short days and less time that the sun shines, or have a lot of frequent cloud cover.  Places like this are places at high elevation or high latitudes. The reason that the lack of sunlight is significant to emotional health is the darkness causes the brain to think it is bedtime.  This causes the brain to over-produces melatonin. Melatonin is the vitamin that helps the body go to sleep, and having too much of it can make anyone tired and slow.

The best way to cure Seasonal Depression is to get as much sunlight as possible, but since most people living up north can’t just get on a plane and fly to California for the weekend, here are some other alternatives to help combat the depression. Exercise is the first option, this may be difficult for extreme cases when one is depressed. However, even 15 minutes of dancing to some good music is a great start. Next, is eating healthier; protein, brightly colored vegetables, white rice, and white bread are really good foods to eat. Caffeine might seem like a good idea to try to get energy back, but the crash after the high will only leaving one feeling worse than before, so avoid if possible. All of this is to try to fight the melatonin by producing a vitamin serotonin, which helps to reduce the depression.

Nico Molina says, “Yes, it is a little more difficult to stay motivated during the winter season, however, life is so much better when I continue to go to the gym, get involved with things around campus, and try to stay busy. It makes this cold time that much more tolerable.” If you do these few simple things, you can save time, money, and sadness. Stay happy my friends.

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