Kittle: Overcoming the winter blues

Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from this disorder.

Winter can be depressing this time of year with its longer, darker days.

Seasonal affective disorder, also called winter depression, affects many of us. Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from this disorder.

People who live in colder climates have a higher incidence of SAD than do those who live in warm, sunny locations. It has also been documented that suicide rates are higher in places of increased light deprivation.

Here are some tips on overcoming the winter blues,

Eat a balanced healthy diet

Eating smaller meals of about 200 to 300 calories per meal throughout the day, approximately three hours apart, combining whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and good fat will help you control your cravings and stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Drink eight glasses of water and don’t forget your daily vitamins. With less sunshine during the winter months, don’t forget your vitamin D.

Add some colour and have fun

Wear bright colours. Studies even suggest that we feel colours more than we see them. Which colour will brighten your mood today?

Be social, play and have fun.  Find fun activities to do with friends, your spouse or family that lift your spirits and bring joy to your life. A happy life leads to a sound mind and a sound body.

Consider a light box

The light from a light box mimics outdoor light. This is thought to cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. A light therapy box is a proven seasonal affective disorder treatment.


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Daily exercise combined with healthy eating can boost your energy and heighten your mood.  Exercise is the recipe for a happier lifestyle.

Aerobic exercise makes your heart stronger and allows it to pump more oxygen to your body. The recommendation for aerobic exercise is three to five days/week for 30 minutes in your target heart rate zone.

Strength-training will make you leaner and toned and gives the strength needed to perform everyday activities. The recommendation for strength training is two to four days/week with a rest day in between workouts.