February 1, 2012

Health Minue with CASI – “Winter Blues”

It’s that time of year when darkness lays over us like a heavy blanket. For some, it may be as severe as waiting for spring to come. Many are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It is estimated that 6 percent of the population is affected, causing lethargy, depression, irritability and wanting to avoid being around others or social events. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population may have milder version that includes only some of the symptoms.

Additional Symptoms:

• Weight gain
• Craving carbohydrates
• Excessive eating
• Increased sleeping
• Just not feeling yourself

Some people who have symptoms of SAD don’t recognize them as part of a disorder. People even tend to blame themselves, or attribute it to the holidays. It is important to recognize these feelings and seek advice from your physician.

But, we must remember in the winter the morning is the most important time of the day to help with the winter blues. Our bodies are craving Vitamin D
normally supplied by sunlight. Some tips for starting your day.

Have an alarm system on your bedroom lights, to start lighting the room a half hour before you awake. Have your morning coffee or breakfast in front of a
window with morning sun, for a 30 minute period. Well, why not? If you have a room in your home with a lot of sunlight, put your home exercise routine in front of the sun. Exercise is also an important routine to maintain for everyday life and increases the dopamine within the brain, which in turn makes us feel happiness. It is a theory that the darkness wreaks havoc with the neurotransmitter-brain chemicals that affect mood. For some it is recommended to use light therapy with 10,000 lux for 30 minutes daily. Vitamin D3 is recommended at 1,000 IU daily.

Sure, all of us would love to go away for the winter and come back to our real lives six months later. But, for most of us that is currently a dream, so let’s just accept the season. Even though winter may not seem so terrific, it carries the joy of the holiday season throughout the winter: Great family gatherings, winter sledding, snow ball fights, snowmen, hot chocolate, great football and basketball games, comfortable clothes, slippers and roaring fires. Certainly, it’s not the same as the heat of July. Keep a positive attitude with a smile, and the winter months should fly by.