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6 Tips for Avoiding the Winter Blahs

How to Prevent or Reduce Seasonal Depression

What is seasonal depression?

Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the seasons – usually occurring during the late fall and early winter when sunlight hours are reduced and the weather can be bleak. Many people feel down during a long New England winter. But spring is closer than you think. While it may seem like spring won’t arrive until April, by early February we get close to 10 hours of daylight and nature begins to prepare for warmer weather.    

How to prevent feeling down in winter

1. Get fresh air

If conditions allow it, try and go outside for a few minutes of daylight every day. If you are unable to get outside regularly, using a light box (a lamp that gives off light similar to natural sunlight) may help.

2. Eat well

Colder weather causes us to crave sweets and starches, but it’s important to keep protein in your diet to maintain balance. Unlike carbohydrates and sugar, protein doesn’t cause your sugar levels to spike, making you feel irritable, tired, and unsatisfied.

3. Get enough vitamin D

Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but it can also be obtained from certain foods such as salmon, tuna, milk, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.

4. Stay active

Staying active by exercising, socializing (from a distance), and doing things you enjoy is one of the best ways to beat the blues in any season. Taking a short walk each day is an easy way to improve your mood. 

5. Plan for spring

Now is a great time to start getting ready for spring activities. Think of the things you like to do in spring and summer, and make a plan for some warmer weather activities you enjoy.

6. Talk to your doctor

If you are concerned about depression, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can check for signs and symptoms of depression by talking to you about your mood and lifestyle. 

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