SelfCare: Winter Brings Increased Depression

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 14th, 2016

After the joy and busyness of the holidays comes cold and grey months and it’s not uncommon for some people to experience the winter blues.

selfcare_winter depressionIn fact, 4-6% of adults suffer from winter depression, and another 10-20% endure mild seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a subtype of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Researchers attribute this to lack of sunlight, which can disrupt the body’s internal clock and cause a drop in serotonin levels.

Health professionals have long prescribed light therapy as a treatment for SAD, which is shown to reduce symptoms by as much as 70%. There is another way to keep the winter blues at bay — exercise.

Many studies show that regular exercise increases serotonin production and lowers rates of depression. Every hour added to your week of exercise cuts your risk for depression in the future in half, experts say.

If you aren’t used to that much exercise, start slowly and gradually increase it every few days.

For greater commitment, find an accountability partner, a friend who exercises regularly or perhaps a class instructor.

To learn more ways to care for your mind, body and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program to amplify your current wellness initiatives.

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