Those who enjoy the winter season delight in visions of family-filled holidays, ice skating and snowball fights as soon as the weather begins to turn cold. But for people who suffer from the winter blues, the winter season brings with it a promise of long, dark weeks, dreary skies and weather that keeps you inside.
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Simply existing in a season with a lot of dark, cloudy days — this is especially true in some U.S. Midwest, the Northwest and the Northeast — is enough to bring down a person’s disposition from a purely psychological perspective, but there are very real, physical explanations for why an estimated 25 million Americans suffer from the winter blues every year. It’s very likely that you’re dealing with a case of the winter blues. The winter blues shouldn’t be confused with the more severe condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, that affects some 10 million Americans.
People with SAD feel depressed and fatigued to the point that their relationships and work life have begun to suffer. The winter blues are a”step down” from SAD, and while they might allow you to feel moody, tired and cranky, it isn’t to the same extent as the effects of SAD. The fantastic thing is that there are ways to turn your winter blues around in no time whatsoever. How the winter blues occur when the days start to darken and sun is scarce isn’t a coincidence.
Sunlight is vital to human health, and once we do not get enough exposure to it our moods and physical health will suffer. More specifically, your serotonin levels (the hormone associated with elevating your mood) increase when you are exposed to bright light. You might have experienced this”high” feeling after spending some time on a sunny beach, for instance. Similarly, the sleep hormone melatonin increases and falls (inversely) with darkness and light. When it is dark, your Kortisol levels grow, and that’s the reason why you might feel naturally tired as it starts to get dark outside (even if, in the heart of winter, this might be at just 4:00 p.m.).
It’s because sun affects the melatonin-serotonin system it works so well to relieve the symptoms of the winter blues and elevates mood. In reality, studies have found that light therapy or phototherapy, that’s the practice of utilizing full-spectrum light therapeutically, works to ease the symptoms of the winter blues and SAD better than antidepressant medications. Interestingly, vitamin D, that requires sunlight exposure to be generated in your body, can also be linked to high levels of serotonin, and it’s been suggested that getting tons of sun over the summer helps your body to keep higher vitamin D levels in the wintermonths, and therefore higher levels of serotonin also. Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t get enough sun during the summer, due in part to the large amounts of time we now spend inside and partly to the fact that the public was scared unnecessarily into avoiding sunlight.
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In the wintertime, if you can take a trip to a sunny place and spend some time in sunlight, your mood is very likely to improve immediately (this implies sensible sunlight — remaining in the sun until you’re burned isn’t healthy). For those who can’t get away, however, there’s another option that’s widely accepted as the ideal remedy for SAD and the winter blues: Full-spectrum lighting. Natural sunlight is complete spectrum, and the full-spectrum light box I urge replicates the identical healthy”ingredients” in natural sunlight. This includes the complete spectrum of colour (imagine the colours of the rainbow), in addition to infrared and the three ultraviolet wavelengths. No other type of lighting source — not “regular” or even “natural” light bulbs or fluorescent light bulbs — contains those requirements.
I strongly recommend and offer you BioPure light bulbs, which include the necessary full spectrum of colour in addition to infrared and the 3 ultra violet wavelengths to most closely match natural daylight. Among the most accurate natural full spectrum light bulbs available on the market today, BioPure Light Bulbs have a color temperature of 5500 Kelvin levels and Color Rendition Index (C.R.I.) of 93, which makes this bulb similar to mid-day sunlight, the time of day once the sun has its greatest photobiotic activity.
What’s more is that those with the winter blues and SAD report a very marked improvement by means of full-spectrum light boxes. In no more than two or three times people often feel a profound increase in power and improvement in mood and sense of wellbeing with the Bio Pure BP-12 and Bio-Pure BP-12 Jr. light boxes. And, all it takes is 15 minutes per day.
It is widely called a natural mood booster, and has also been proven to work better than antidepressant Medikamente to relieve depressive symptoms. Simply getting out for a brisk walk or going to the gym for 30-minute exercise can work wonders for your mood, and your body will benefit also. Don’t believe you must stay with a particular routine if you are somebody who gets bored easily. Exercise works best when it is something you look forward to, so choose something that suits your personality and physical fitness level.
Dancing, kickboxing, yoga and brisk walking are all terrific ideas. Exercise will also help boost your Immunsystem, which usually means you are less likely to develop a cold or flu — yet another reason many people don’t look ahead to the winter season. As the weather turns colder you will mentally feel as if you’re preparing to”hibernate” for the winter, and therefore beginning to crave “comfort” foods. Unfortunately, traditional comfort foods are usually less than perfect from a nutritional standpoint (you know those biscuits and instant mashed potatoes are not healthy!) . Stock your pantry with healthy food options like legumes, raw cheeses and fresh vegetables that will leave you feeling fulfilled and well-nourished, as opposed to on a sugar-high (with the inevitable “sugar crash” soon to come).
If you find your cravings are too powerful to resist, consider trying the energy psychology tool, Emotional Freedom Technique to deal with any underlying emotional challenges which may be blocking your progress. If you feel tired once the sun sets (this is the natural way our bodies have been programmed to sense ), listen to your body! It’s telling you that it is time to rest. Most of us, however, stay up much later than our bodies might enjoy, sometimes six or more hours later than the sun set, which will impair the adrenal glands and the immune system. There are a variety of studies which reveal that omega-3 fatty acids in Fisch oils are associated with decreased depression.