Fighting the Coming Winter Blues

flower in vase

Fall is a good time for many of us, since we associate the season with holidays (such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Advent), chilly nights at football games, campfires, and good food. However, for others, the beginning of fall signals the coming winter, and with it, the winter blues, given the name “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” appropriately abbreviated SAD.

There are ways to fight back. I have suffered from mild SAD in the past, and I am more likely to get “down” in the winter. Since I have become very active in the summers, I have generally dreaded winters. However, last winter was a notable exception, and it was a long, cold, winter to boot, so I was doing something right. One of the things I was doing was getting sunshine whenever possible. Every morning at school, I would go to window of my room, and just “take in” the strong sunlight for a few minutes.  I also made sure I got outside if possible. Usually we get some freak warm days in the winter months, and you can bet I am outside, and the windows of the house are open to air it out (again, if it’s possible). Using this strategy (among others, which I’ll share in the future), I avoided any trace of the “winter blues.”

Science backs me up on this. I came across a study that connected serotonin levels in the brain to sunlight. Sunlight raises serotonin levels, while lack of it lowers serotonin levels. This could explain why a) people get more down in the winter, and b) why people who spend a lot of time indoors, even in the summer, often suffer from depression.

It’s not winter yet; heck, it’s not even autumn, but now is a good time to start thinking about strategies to deal with the coming winter blues and blahs.