How to Conquer Winter Depression and Actually Feel Great

Darker, shorter, colder days keep millions of Americans hiding under their pillows.

Does this time of year make you feel tired, listless, hopeless, depressed, irritable, unable to concentrate, no tolerance for stress, no interest in your usual activities, excessively sleepy, more/less hungry or cause you to avoid people?

You probably have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), says the Mayo Clinic and other sources.

Though this form of the winter blues can sometimes be extreme, experts say you don’t need any medical tests. You can usually diagnose yourself.

Less light during these months means less feel-good brain chemicals. So says Gavin Lambert of the Baker Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He and a team of researchers studied how each of the four seasons affected 101 healthy men.

However, Harvard University research reveals that SAD affects women and children just as much, if not more.

Massage therapy can help you.

Why?

I’m sure you’d agree…most of us carry around way too much stress.

Not only does a massage session make you more relaxed and melt your stress away – it also gives you the opportunity to get some nurturing support.

Of course, for any medical advice, go see your doctor. But stress relief and a listening ear? I’m sure you’ll find that massage is just what the doctor ordered!

What else can help?

Bright Light

Light therapy, also called phototherapy, has helped so many people with SAD!

But ordinary bulbs won’t do. The light should be at least ten times the intensity of the normal lighting in your home.

The Harvard article mentioned above says doctors suggest a light intensity of 10,000 lux (but the less ultraviolet light, the better.) You can buy one of these light boxes locally or on the internet.

Though you don’t need a prescription, it’s best to work with a professional who can monitor your response. A few people have reported side effects such as eye problems, skin rashes, headaches and sleep changes. Some drugs and herbs (such as St. John’s wort) can make you light sensitive. If light therapy isn’t for you, many doctors will recommend anti-depressants.

Yet many people report an amazing improvement in their mood after just one session in this kind of light.

While you don’t look directly into the light, the benefit comes from the light entering your eyes. (Skin exposure seems to have little or no effect.)

Most people say this kind of lighting can keep helping you if you get at least 30 minutes to an hour of exposure every day.

Exercise

Almost all doctors highly recommend exercise to change your mood.

“There is no drug in current or prospective use that holds as much promise for sustained health as a lifetime program of physical exercise.” – Dr. Walter Bortz II

Don’t have time?

The Wellness Letter says “short bouts of exercise during the course of a day have an additive benefit. That is, three 10-minute periods of exertion can be almost as beneficial as one 30-minute session.”

But you must do it often. Look at your calendar. Schedule specific dates and times for exercise.

After a few weeks of a sustained exercise program, it’ll become a normal part of your life.

Once you begin to enjoy the health benefits – and the way it makes you feel – you’ll probably look forward to your exercise time!

Counseling

Psychological counseling helps many people too.

However, it’s hard to beat a trained massage therapist who listens to you while they melt away that stress in your shoulders, lower back and feet!

How can I help? Call me at 303-920-2350 with any questions, concerns or to find out how massage can make life better for you.


by Sarah Shropshire
LMT, Essential Oil Consultant and Business Owner