Sunlight can affect our mood, and during winter we get a lot less sunlight. The sun rises later in the morning and sets earlier in the afternoon, making the daytime shorter. In Michiana we have more cloudy days in winter because of clouds forming over Lake Michigan. We often do not go outside even on sunny winter days because of the cold.
Reduced sunlight can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood condition that comes on in the winter months. Some symptoms of SAD are difficulty awakening, nausea, tendency to oversleep and overeat, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal, and decreased sex drive. All this leads to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Medical help is available if you need it.
But there are things you can do to help yourself and combat SAD. First, keep inside lights on as much as possible during the day, especially on cloudy days. Ordinary lights will help, but check out the SAD light that is specially made to combat depression.
Whenever possible, exercise inside or bundle up and go outside for a brisk walk. Vigorous exercise has been scientifically proven to combat depression.
We can all improve our attitude — ot is a matter of choice! See winter as a special time to do things that you haven’t had time for. Curl up with a good book, buy some new music, become interested in a hobby, organize a closet or room, go visit a friend you haven’t seen lately, look at flower catalogues, laugh more! Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and eat health. Get together with friends or family and plan a party! Volunteer and help others. Go out with friends to a movie, or go shopping at the winter sales.
Stay fit and do things you enjoy; improve your mental health!
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Elkhart County