I thought this post might help you and me to prepare for the long dreary -gray days.  Most of us who live where there is a true winter live with a lot of gray skies and less sunlight than during the spring, summer and fall.
The gray days and long nights of winter affect my mood. Every winter I’m reminded how much I dislike it. My doctor says that anyone who lives in the regions of the world where days are short, and the sunshine is lacking will be affected by it whether they have a mood disorder or not.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. When there is daylight, I spend time outside as much as possible. Many times it simply means a quick brisk walk.
  3. 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.   jeremy-bishop-262119
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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?

You can check out Brad’s podcast at www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Interested in possibly starting a faith-based mental health support group?  Check out, Fresh Hope.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

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