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When researching ways to beat the winter blues, the first article I came upon simply said there is one cure: death.
I had to laugh when reading this, as the author must truly be a pessimist. Sure, many people can feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but there is more than one way to beat the winter blues.
Mayo Clinic describes SAD as a type of depression that interferes with daily life.
Loss of energy, oversleeping and social withdrawal are all symptoms one might encounter. It’s estimated 20 to 25 percent of the American population experience SAD to some degree during winter months.
Experts blame different factors for SAD that range from the lack of daylight hours to the aftermath of holiday debt.
I always feel the effects of losing sunlight early and often want to stay indoors, under a blanket as soon as it gets dark. I count the days until the sun shows its face for a few extra hours each day.
What I didn’t realize is SAD can affect people year-round. A person can experience the same symptoms during the summer, or even feel a reverse effect of the symptoms.
Treatment can be simple such as increased exercise, a well-balanced diet and simply getting out during the daylight hours and enjoying the sunshine, while others may need medicine to kick the blues.
Decreasing stress levels is almost a surefire treatment, as stress leads to many cases of SAD. By putting off stressful activities or decisions until the spring, some may be able to avoid SAD during the dark and gloomy winter months.
But I always like to do things a little bit different, so I researched other ways to self-treat SAD.
One of the things I found said to plant flowers. I thought this was a great idea. I like digging in the dirt and getting dirty just as much as I like shopping for flowers and picking colors that look great together.
If planted in time, the bulbs will bloom in early spring and will hopefully prevent a springtime SAD flash.
Naturalists claim using natural ingredients in everyday activities can refresh the body. Using lemon balm as a face wash or almond oil in a bathtub are just two home remedies that sounded interesting.
The most common one I came across and perhaps the most intriguing to me is light box therapy. By using a light box to emit additional light into a room is said to help alleviate SAD symptoms.
This doesn’t mean you have to sit for a half hour looking straight into a light. The light can be on while you’re doing other activities, such as cleaning, working, or watching television.
So don’t be SAD this winter or any season after. Not everyone has to be a victim of the winter blues.
KATHRYN JACEWICZ is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.