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Prescription for Fighting Off the Winter Blues

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 Winter is a magical and enchanting time of year…but it can also be a bit depressing. Holiday bills are high. The days are way too short and the sun sets much earlier. Temperatures are low and sadly there are usually more cloudy days than sunny ones. Cold weather encourages time indoors, which can seem isolating after awhile too.

So, although the early part of winter may be festive, with an array of holiday decorations and get-togethers that bring pure joy into our lives, when January comes around and the Christmas decorations come down, it’s back to the cold without the anticipation of an upcoming celebration. Worst of all…there are still weeks of winter left to face!

Due to this, a lot of people tend to feel depressed because of these long, dark winter months. But did you know that there is scientific evidence supporting the idea that the different seasons have a toll on our moods? That’s right!

Most scientists believe this is related to the way our body’s react to daylight and there is indeed a medical name for these winter blues or depression and it’s known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

 “With SAD, one theory is that light entering the eye causes changes in hormone levels in the body. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up” says Alison Kerry from the mental health charity MIND.  “It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.”

Hence, if you’re going through a bout of winter blues, lack of daylight is probably playing a part!

There are, however, simple suggestions to help you fight off SAD:

Lighten up your environment. Get a light box (all you need are 30 minutes per day) or open up those blinds and curtains and sit as close to windows as possible to get that extra dose of sunshine.
Get outside & exercise. There is another weapon against the seasonal blues: keeping active and if you can do it outdoors, even better. It may not be easy to convince yourself to get outdoors when those temperatures are so low but there are so many benefits to this. If you have a tendency towards SAD, outdoor exercise will benefit you double, because you’ll gain some daylight too!

Eat smarter. Did you know that certain foods, like candy and carbohydrates may provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could also intensify feelings of anxiety and depression in the long run? But you now have the perfect excuse to eat chocolate, as it can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety!
Plan a vacation. Counting down towards those sunnier beach days? Did you know that the simple fact that you’re planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness? Although this can have a great impact on your mental health before and during the vacation period, unfortunately some SAD suffers find that their depressive feelings came back after they return to their everyday environment so make the trip truly worth it!

Get some Greenery. Don’t forget about the greenery – it kept your days bright and full of life during the summertime so get some summer-inspired greens into your life during those winter months! Plants can make people happy, providing positive vibes and can bring an intense sense of freshness to your surroundings – key in those winter months when everything starts to literally hibernate. Concerning their all-around uplifting powers, the science on plants is real: study found that patients in hospital rooms filled with plants were more positive, less stressed, and recovered faster than other plant-less patients. Another study showed that indoor plants kept office workers healthier and more productive, even more so during the winter months.

We hope you take our suggestions into consideration and break away from those awful winter blues! Needless to say that severe cases should be medically treated obviously, but considering at some point in time we all tend to suffer from mild winter blues, we truly hope these tips are helpful.

Look on the bright side… a few more weeks and we’ll be in Spring so hang in there (check out our new products coming soon for Spring)!

- LX Crafts Co

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