In North America, it is estimated that 50 to 60 percent of the population is affected by winter depression. There is a broad spectrum of symptoms that arise, from a change in sleep patterns and weight gain, to overwhelming suicidal thoughts and the unfortunate results. This means about half of the people you know are depressed in the wintertime!
Wintertime depression is most common north and south of the equator. People who live near the equator have a very low incidence of winter depression. The reason for this is they live where there are enough daylight hours to avoid triggering the hormone imbalance that causes depression. What matters is the length of the day (daylight hours), not the weather. Depression in the winter is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder.”
People who live in northern climates suffer because of the seasonally shortened days. Just as trees lose their leaves when the days shorten, people lose their happiness. People who live where the days shorten seasonally are victims of the brain’s chemical reaction to lesser hours of daylight.
If you live in a climate where daylight hours are shortened there are a few things you can do to help overcome Season Affective Disorder.
You can use light therapy to extend the hours of daylight in your day. Light therapy is the most effective depression treatment known. Sit near a small bank of lights for a couple of hours each day.
You need a fixture that will hold four foot long fluorescent bulbs. Buy the best ‘grow’ lights. The kind that is best for plants. They are the closest match to the spectrum of sunlight. Do not use standard fluorescent bulbs. They are too green and will actually drain the energy out of you. Research shows the best time to treat winter depression with light therapy is early in the morning. The best time is probably the first task of the day. You could sit quietly near the lights to read uplifting material before you begin your day.
In addition, try to following tips:
•Stick to a daily routine.
•Go to bed on time so you can do your light therapy first thing in the mornings.
•Try to avoid annoying people.
•Arrive at work early. Plan your day. Make a list of what you want to accomplish and check things off as you accomplish them.
•Save challenging projects for when you are not fighting winter depression.
•Decide that the weather not affect your mood. You cannot change the weather.
•If the weather is bad, allow a little extra time to get to work. Accept the weather as it is and move on.
•Improve your health. Eat healthier foods.
•Exercise. Walking is one of the best exercises for depression. It is nearly impossible to think bad thoughts while you are walking briskly.
•Drink plenty of water.
In conclusion, don’t give up on yourself. If you still feel bad after you have done the entire above mentioned, yell for help! If you can’t talk to your family or a friend, talk to your personal physician. See a nurse in a clinic, or a psychologist. Do not keep your feelings inside. There are all kinds of help for people who suffer from any kind of depression.