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Depression and the Winter Months

By Janin Hendry

The coming winter months mean a drop in temperature and snow. It also means more gray weather and less sun. The winter months are full of merriment with the holidays and stress and aggravation, which the weather can make harder.

How Does the Weather Affect Your Mood?

The sun helps your brain produce mood-balancing chemicals that can help you feel more alive and active. During the winter and the end of daylight saving time, your body and brain receive less light. Your brain has a rhythm called the circadian rhythm for the cycles it runs through to provide balance.

When the sun starts to disappear with the turn of the seasons, your brain is more prone to depression and less control. It is not uncommon for many people to fall into winter depression because of the reduction in sunlight. Your brain requires balancing, and sunlight helps with that balance.

 What Is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a seasonal depression that many people go through each winter. The condition is more prevalent in areas where snow or rain is the prevalent weather during the winter months. Your brain feels starved for light, and because there is less sun exposure, your brain feels at least a low level of depression.

What Can You Do to Remain Positive?

There are different ways you can remain positive during the dark months of November, December, January, and February. You can experiment with some different options to find your brain-body balance.

Exercise - Movement causes your brain to produce chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine.  The chemicals are two neurotransmitters your brain requires to keep even mental balance levels, and low levels can produce depression and anxiety.

Healthy relationships - The people around us can help boost our moods during the year's dark periods. Mothers, fathers, and friends can provide support for your mood when things are tough.

Solar lamp - The solar lamp produces light that mimics the sunlight. Studies show that sitting for at least 30 minutes per day in front of a solar lamp can help improve moods and set you up for a better day.

Vitamin D3 - If you are in an area where sunlight is in short supply, taking a Vitamin D3 supplement can boost your brain chemistry around your activities.

Final Thoughts

The winter months bring holidays and stress. They are not without joy, but the weather plays a major role in weathering the change of seasons. Taking steps to balance your brain chemistry can lead you to better days and happier times.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic Clinic in Fitchburg, Wis

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