Winter Darkness Can Cause the Blues
Wintertime brings cold weather and shorter days. Unfortunately, the season also causes some people to feel gloomy and mentally drained.
Individuals with the “winter blues” may have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, and enjoying their usual social activities, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The advent of shorter days appears to be the main cause of the winter blues, according to NIH research. Reduced sunlight in fall and winter can disrupt the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, leading to mood changes in some people, studies have suggested.
Fortunately, various practices are available to help beat back the winter blues, according to the National Health Service of Scotland. Here are some that pharmacists may want to offer their clients:
- Keep active: Taking a walk at midday can be helpful for coping with the winter blues.
- Get outside: Get as much natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days.
- Keep warm: It’s been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.
- Eat healthily: A healthy diet will boost your mood and give you more energy.
- Soak up the light box: Some people find sitting in front of a light box for an extended period can ward off the winter blues.
- Take up a new hobby: Keeping your mind active with new interests and something to look forward to can also help brighten the mood.
- Gather with friends and family: Socializing has been found to help ward off the winter blues. Keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events.
Other experts recommend making your environment sunnier and brighter by opening blinds, trimming tree branches that block sunlight, or adding skylights to your home. Experts also recommend establishing a normalized sleep pattern with reliable times to wake up and go to bed each day. Finally, if possible, take a winter vacation to a warm and sunny location.
Millions of American adults may feel some degree of the winter blues. The feeling is more common among people living farther north, where daylight hours are shorter in the winter, notes NIH. Residents of Alaska or New England, for example, may be more likely to develop the winter blues than people living in Florida.Wherever you live, pharmacists can offer their clients advice on how to stay in top mental and physical health until the days lengthen again.