Monday, February 7, 2011

Fighting the Blues

Not much sunshine and very cold, winter can be tough in Michigan!  How can you fight the blues?  Here are some ideas:

*Note: Depression can be a serious problem.  Research the warnings signs of severe depression if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one.  Get professional help if you need it.  Sometimes we do need help and that is OK!  This article is for mild down in the dumps, so if these ideas don't help, seek help please.

  • Look for the beauty in the world God created and thank Him for it.
  • Make a "happy spot" or a poster listing things you are thankful for.  As Madam Blueberry says, a thankful heart is a happy heart. (Veggie Tales)
  • Get outside and enjoy the world, cold or no cold.  Just dress for it.  You would be surprised how warm you get when you are working hard!
  • Use light therapy.  Buy a light or light bulb that simulates natural sunshine and turn it on a couple of hours in the morning.  You could even have a light turn on a little before you get up in the morning so it is like a natural sunrise to help you get up. "Use artificial light. Many people invest in a light box, which simulates the sun's natural rays, emitting 2,500 to 10,000 lux (a normal light fixture emits 250 to 500 lux). They work by reducing the release of melatonin in the brain. For best results, use a light box daily, in the early morning, and for 30 minutes to two hours at a time. Many people see improvement in about 2 weeks.[2]

    • You can use the light box to effectively lengthen the day: use it before daylight, after the sun sets, or a combination of the two. Increasing the daylength by two hours should be effective.
    • Light therapy boxes aren't regulated, so if you pick one out without the recommendation of a doctor, look for ones that have been tested in peer-reviewed clinical trials and have smooth diffusing screens that filter out UV rays.[3]
    • Unfortunately, light boxes aren't cheap. In some cases, they are covered by health insurance.
    • Alternatively, you can get full-spectrum light bulbs at a hardware store. Just make sure they emit a minimum of 2,500 lux.[4]"
  • Talk to a friend. Talking things out can change the chemicals in your brain for the better like taking an anti-depressant might.
  • Go on vacation to a sunny place.  Can't?  Make sure you are taking a multivitamin with vitamin D; D can be depleted this time of year and can cause depression, among other things.
  • Eat healthily.  Low moods can mean low seratonin levels and sometimes we crave carbs because of it. Weight gain may not help the blues, so keep healthy snacks available and have a little protein to help limit cravings.
  • What are your strategies?  Share!
  • Bernice suggested drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest.  (The water thing is tough in the winter, I think!  Good suggestion)

1 comment:

  1. Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. My mother used to tell me that all the time and I would roll my eyes. Now I am the mom and I say it too. Was she right about everything?