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Beating the winter blues

It seems many of us are tired and worn down from the snow, ice, wind and deep penetrating chill. In a given year, about 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. * to read more

Beating the winter blues *by Sue Pavlovich,

1 Keep active. A daily walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. ...

2 Get outside. Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colors that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.

3 Keep warm. Being cold may make you feel more depressed, so staying warm may reduce the winter blues.Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes.

4 Eat healthily. A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

5 See the light. Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for 30 minutes to an hour each day.

6 Take up a new hobby. Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of SAD, says Sue Pavlovich. "It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on," she adds.

7 See your friends and family. It's been shown that socializing is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.

8 Talk it through. Talking treatments such as counseling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what's available locally.

Think Spring, Beat the Winter Blues.

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