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  • Writer's pictureValerie Smith, APRN

What to Do If You Have the Winter Blues

2022 is here! This time of year brings out a wide range of emotions for many of us.

Some people love the fresh start of a new year. They thrive during the holiday season and the cold, dark winter months don’t seem to phase them.

Others don’t fare so well, leading many people to experience what we commonly refer to as “the winter blues.”

Seasonal depression is a real condition for many. The short days and frigid temperatures carry a punch, but oftentimes, it's so much more than that.

Finding yourself in a funk could be the result of various factors, such as:

Lack of sunlight exposure. With fewer hours of sunlight available, sun rays can be difficult to come by during the winter months.

Imbalance of the body’s melatonin levels. Research suggests that a person’s melatonin levels change according to the seasons.

A disruption to your circadian rhythm. We cannot deny the power of the body’s internal clock.

Abnormal vitamin levels. Studies show a lot of us see a drop in our iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B levels during the winter.

Where you live. Temperatures and weather conditions vary drastically across the United States.

Family history. Your genetic makeup can increase your odds of developing depression.

Personal health history. This is where pre-existing conditions, like rheumatic diseases, play a role in how well your body functions during the winter.

For some, the winter blues turn into more than just the occasional downtrodden day. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that can affect your energy, sleep, appetite, concentration, mood, and more.

What can you do if you think you are experiencing the winter blues or SAD? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Try out light therapy

  • Stick to a strict schedule

  • Change your diet

  • Manage your screen time

  • Talk to a therapist or counselor

  • Spend more time outside

  • Take time for spiritual and emotional renewal

  • Increase your physical activity

  • Express gratitude every day

  • Plan a trip

  • Write down your feelings in a journal

  • Be mindful and meditate

  • Take medication, including Vitamin D

You can also add to that list to schedule a visit to Paducah Rheumatology. We will discuss your symptoms and come up with an individualized treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs.

Rain or shine, summer or winter, we are here to help you!

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