After everyone has survived the holidays, winter seems to drag on.  Many people state that the short days, long nights and cold weather keep people in hibernation mode.  It is hectic to bundle up and nerve racking to drive in the nasty weather.  Seasonal affective disorder is very common and can be self-diagnosed.  This is a mood disorder that occurs at the same time every year in areas where the climates get less sunshine.  Symptoms can include fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal.

Although this may be a difficult time, there are a few ways to combat seasonal affective disorder.  Physical exercise 30-60 minutes a day will boost the levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain.  Those “feel-good” chemicals will elevate during the activity but will continue to stay elevated for hours after a workout.  If possible, 20 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight will also combat seasonal depression.  A light box can also be purchased for your office or home.  This product mimics that bright sunshine rays.  Laughing can be productive way to reduce seasonal depression as well.  Laughing with friends and family or watching a funny movie can briefly improve your mood and increase serotonin.  Research has also suggested that massage can improve levels of serotonin and significantly decrease the symptoms of the blues.

The dark months can seem long and dreary, but the spring months will be here soon.  In the meantime, please use some or many of the suggestions discussed.  If the seasonal depression persists, always consult a physician.  Sufferers of seasonal depressive disorder are always welcome to join one of Baue’s many grief groups, the Silver and Gold Club, or can call the Canter for Hope and Healing for a counseling session.  Resources are always just a click or phone call away.