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How to Beat the Winter Blues

It’s the time of year when everything just seems “blah”.  The holidays are over and winter looms before us…long and cold.  Many of us leave for work during the dark morning and don’t arrive home until the dark of night.  It can be depressing.  Really.  Scientifically.  Depressing.  Per Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that follows the seasons.  The most common type of SAD is winter depression.  Scientists believe that SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight we experience.  It is estimated that this disorder affects 10 million Americans, with another 10 to 20 percent suffering from a milder form of SAD.  It’s more common in women than men and symptoms usually begin around age 20.  Some people suffer symptoms so severely that they affect quality of life and 6% of people with SAD require hospitalization.  But don’t panic!  While SAD is a legitimate illness that should be taken seriously and treated, many of us experience a mild form of “winter blues” that we can beat on our own.  Here is a list of scientifically backed ways to “beat the winter blues”:

  • Make your environment brighter. Thirty minutes of light exposure can be as helpful as an antidepressant. Open your blinds, sit near a window and on sunny days, get outside! And if these options aren’t available, try LIGHT THERAPY
  • Make healthy eating choices. Certain foods like chocolate, asparagus, spinach, blueberries and oranges are known to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Eat to relieve stress!
  • Simulate dawn. If you’re suffering with SAD, you may be finding it difficult to get up in the morning, especially if it’s still dark outside.  This study  that a Dawn Simulator, a device that makes the lights in your bedroom gradually get brighter over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Exercise. A Harvard University study showed that walking fast for 35 minutes a day, five days a week or 60 minutes a day, three days a week can significantly reduce symptoms of depression. And for SAD, exercising in brightly lit environments is even better!
  • Listen to music.  Research has shown that listening to upbeat, cheerful music can improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Plan a vacation.  Research shows that although it might be months before you actually go, simply planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
  • Lend a helping hand. Volunteering to help others is great way to improve your mental health and increase satisfaction in life.
  • Spend time outside.  Even when it’s cold, the benefits of spending time outdoors are numerous. Time spent outdoors can improve focus, improve symptoms of SAD and reduce anxiety. 

So, don’t let the winter blues get you down.  Take steps to lift your spirits and spring will be here before you know it!


Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

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