Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Blues

I have the blues
You have the blues
We all have the blues
That old winter blues

What are the blues - specifically the winter blues?

According to research studies, the winter blues is a form of depression that takes effect during the late fall through the winter season. In addition, studies show that 4 to 6% of the US population suffers from seasonal depression. Furthermore, 10-20% suffer from a mild case of winter blues. Interestingly,the majority of those who suffer from the winter blues are women ages 20-40 years old. However, the winter blues has also affected children and adolescents. So while many are happy for the white fluffy snow, planning ski trips, snowboarding or ice skating and all of the winter season activities, others are not so delighted. In fact, they may become depressed.

The culprit?

Although it is not known what is exactly responsible for the winter blues, there are many factors that are associated with the winter blues. One factor that is most common is the daylight change period. The lack of sunlight, not to mention the warmth that goes along with it, creates a lethargic, low level energy.

Melatonin is responsible for sleep and waking cycles. Serotonin has a broader role as it is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood, hunger, and sleep. Needless to say, as daylight savings ends the hours of sunlight decreases. it is at this point, the winter blues kicks in gear and the mood changes begin. It really takes it's toll on the way one who suffers of the winter blues respond to things. They do not want to socialize, they are tired and cannot wait to get home to relax. In fact, the winter blues may even affect the ability to concentrate.

Do I have the winter blues or do I just prefer to stay out of the cold?

Well, do you feel the need to hibernate - do you want to sleep and wake up in the springtime? Do you just prefer to be left alone until it's spring? Then most likely you are suffering from the winter blues.

Any Good News?

Here's the good news, there are various forms of therapies that may help you overcome the winter blues:

Light Therapy - normal light fixtures emits 250 to 500 lux on the other hand,light boxes emit high intensities of light of 2,500 to 10,000 lux and produce similar effects to the sun’s natural rays and as a result the mood is improved.

Sleep Strategies - get to bed early and wake up in time to enjoy the sunlight hours

Eating Plan - increase portions of complex carbohydrates, like pasta and rice, and healthy simple carbohydrates like fruits and fruit juices during meals, and avoid those unhealthy snacks. Unhealthy snacks are a quick fix of pleasure that will ultimately decrease your energy.

Burning Calories Plan - exercise it enhances your mood and boosts your energy

The Very Last Plan - Medication should be the very last resort and it should be administered by a health care professional who has evaluated your complaints. If it is determined that the other methods would not work for you - then this is the option.

Spring is on the way - hang on in there.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Special Message For You!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Here's to Your Health - Happy New Year!

Each year we all make our resolutions or set our goals or just opt out of making any arrangements. We may just go along with the day to day living and hope for the best. However, most of us seem to think that we can't wait for the New Year to come and make the past a distant memory - expecting nothing but the best. It is important that we realize that as long as we live, the path for us will have some turbulence as well as some smooth and joyful moments.

Brace yourselves for challenges - it's a part of life. However, do not allow the challenges to overwhelm you.

Celebrate the simple things - it makes everything else much better.

Be thankful - it is always good to give thanks - it shows your appreciation

Be kind - treat others the way you would want to be treated

Be supportive - it's always good to give support to others it builds you up

Be thoughtful - think before you act and let your actions demonstrate your thoughtfulness

Nurture yourself - take the time to take good care of yourself.

Watch your daily intake - watch your portion sizes.

Treat yourself to some quiet time, some relaxed time, some ME time. Enjoy the company of others - go out and socialize. Spend time with your family and friends - all in an effort to share joyous moments. If you do not have this relationship with your family and friends, then begin to look into groups/organizations that share common interests - that usually works. Pace yourself - know when to exit politely without allowing yourself to become overwhelmed in an uncomfortable situation - just say as calmly as possible - "I have to go now"

You can take control of your life by choosing the people, places and things that you want in your life. You also have the power to control how you take care of yourself - your health is vital and you can make small changes each day to improve your health.

Each day is your day - make it great!