Since moving to a year-round warm climate is not an option at this point in my life I fight off the adverse effects of winter by doing the following:
- I use full spectrum light bulbs in my home and office. Full spectrum bulbs mimic daylight and provide more of a full spectrum light range like the sun.
- When there is daylight, I spend time outside as much as possible. Many times it simply means a quick brisk walk.
- Inside during the daylight hours, I always open all of the window coverings at the home and office. Plus, I will sit by a window as much as possible. I realize that to “reap” the benefits of the sun and vitamin D you need to be out in the sunlight, yet my mood is always lifted even if I’m only “feeling” or seeing the sunlight even through the window.
- I faithfully take vitamin D. I start it around mid-October and usually stop at the end of March. I follow my doctor’s recommendation for the dosage of it. Taking Vitamin D is probably the most significant aid for me in facing the dark days of winter.
- I also take B12 during the same time that I take vitamin D. B12 helps my energy level that keeps me more active as I would be during warmer seasons. Being more active, staying busy, are essential for maintaining my mood. Sometimes because of the inclement weather, I find myself wanting to stay inside. But, I force myself to get out to take a short walk if nothing else. I also attempt to have plenty of social interaction with other people which keeps my focus on things other than how much I hate the cold, snowy days of winter. (Again, I follow the instructions of my doctor as to how much of the B12 to take.)
- If possible, I try to plan a getaway to someplace sunny and warm during the winter time; even if it is only for a couple of days. And when getting away is not possible I will find someplace close to home that is close to someplace warm and sunny, like a swimming pool at a health club that has a lot of natural light.
- And if needed, I use light therapy. Numerous national chain stores that sell lights for S.A.D. in their pharmacy. While I’ve not needed to do light therapy for many years now, when I did need it, it was extremely helpful. In fact, I had to be careful to do it too late in the day as would lift my mood too much before bedtime.
How about you? Do you live in a climate where the winter time is long, cold, gray and less sunshine? If so, what do you do to fight off the wintertime blues?
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Thanks to this photographer for use of his picture: Michail Prohorov