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Winter Is Coming - Coping When The Days Are Cold and Short

posted Nov 17, 2014, 7:00 AM by AndrewandSarah Witzel   [ updated Nov 17, 2014, 7:01 AM ]
Now that’s it part way through November, the days are short. There are 14 hours of darkness per day in my city, which is not nearly as far north as some communities. Between the long nights, freezing temperatures, and dreary gray skies, it can be very  difficult to feel energetic and motivated. I personally often feel lethargic and sluggish during the winter.

It is not unusual to have worsening depression at certain times of the year, most commonly in the winter. I sometimes wonder if the fact that my daughter was born in the late fall was one more contributing factor to my mood disorder.


Fortunately, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help combat this worsening of mood. Getting regular exercise is very helpful. Exposure to morning light is recommended as well. If you were previously recovering well and are experiencing a seasonal-related relapse, see your healthcare provider  as soon as possible to fine-tune your treatment.


Daily exposure to a specific kind of artificial light, which is known as “bright light therapy,” has been shown to help some women with postpartum and antenatal depression. Talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of using a light box if this therapy option is something you would like to try.


References and further reading:


http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.4.666

http://www.cmha.bc.ca/get-informed/mental-health-information/postpartum-depression

http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/winter-depression-symptoms

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20021047

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