Wise Ways to Win the Battle with Winter Blues
By Sandy Schroeder
If you find winter hard to take when it gets dark early and the temps just keep dropping, it may be time to get some good advice and take action.
I have read a lot of material on seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and known many people who have struggled with it. If you are fighting the winter blues, too, advice from psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, may hit the spot.
Ramsey says he has spent many years trying to "crack the code on the winter blues" as a means of serving his patients and himself: "My Well+Good Winter Blues Rx is one part adventure, a dash of reality, and a twist of retail therapy.”
Head outdoors – Let nature help rather than hinder. I have a friend who lives in a rainy climate, and does not love it, but he layers up with rain gear, and goes out whenever he can to hike. He gets a double lift by being outside and exercising. Choose a winter sport that appeals, get the right gear, and go for it.
Go with the flow – OK, it’s dark early. Accept the weather and treat yourself to mugs of hot tea or steaming bowls of soup as you camp out by the nearest fireplace. Read your favorite mysteries or just relax and reflect on life, trading stories with friends and family.
Get creative – If you have the space, consider creating your own inside gym. My friend outfitted his garage with halogen lights, a rowing machine, stationary bike and rowing machine. Exercising indoors could also be as simple as rolling out a yoga mat or parking a stationary bike near the TV.
Eat a multi-colored diet – Do an end run around beige foods like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, potato soups or toasted cheese creations. Instead, look for appealing recipes on Epicurious.com for squash soup, purple yams sautéed with olive oil and jalapenos, bright green Brussels sprouts or multi-colored carrots to fight inflammation and energize cells. Add wild salmon, anchovies or mussels to boost your mood.
Import some light – Dr. Ramsey recommends light boxes for winter depression. Keep it bright (around 10,000 lux), near you, and do 20 to 30 minutes in the morning.
Enlist help – Dr. Ramsey advises, “If your mood and energy are significantly slipping, you feel sleep-deprived, irritable, or hopeless, and you are not enjoying any of your regular activities, you don’t need to be clinically depressed or hitting rock bottom to merit assistance. See a therapist, health coach, psychiatrist, psychologist, teacher or religious leader." The most important thing is that you simple seek out help. If you need additional information about SAD, check out the American Psychiatric Association."
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Zionsville, Ind.