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Life Op-Ed

Beating the Winter Blues

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Even the best of us can be victim to the so-called “winter blues.” It is just a thing of human nature. Even for brilliant scientists, this feeling is a mystery. Although, scientists have found that these blues are “primarily caused by unstable melatonin levels,  hormones produced during sleep, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood, hunger, and sleep,” According to Gannett Health Services. And, the people who suffer from this kind of Winter Blues (SAD) are people especially sensitive to light, or the lack of it.

For those who are not as severe as having SAD, winter is particularly hard, due to the lack of holidays to be looking forward to or the adventurous opportunities being lost. As the days become shorter and the hours of sunlight decrease, people generally experience changes in their mood, energy level, and ability to concentrate.

Instead of feeling trapped into the melancholy of winter, one can do a multiple of things to prevent or lessen the blues. One of the most crucial is exercise. “Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, which often exacerbates feelings of depression brought on by the winter blues,” said by Gannett Health Services. Diet is also a key factor for those who suffer from winter blues.  

A great strategy for anyone with the winter blues would be to eat larger portions of complex carbohydrates, like pasta and rice, and healthy simple carbohydrates like fruits during meals, and stay away from unhealthy snacks that will cause momentary relief but ultimately decrease energy.  Healthy foods provide the body and mind with nutrients and stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. Besides staying active in an exercising way, a person should stay moving in a forward motion. For example, Winter is a great time to get ahead on spring cleaning and completing goals one might not have had time to complete during the busy holiday season.

Studies show that men and women diagnosed with winter blues received less depression when motivating themselves to achieve something. According to Spark People.com. Sometimes just being able to realize one’s mood can be directly correlated with the weather can give a person an urge of relief. The first steps in coping with this issue are to find things that take the mind off of stress and onto activities like exercising, goal making, organizing, and self-improvement.

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