Why should keeping happy and healthy be different during winter than any other time of the year? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the first thing is just to realize that it’s normal to feel that way for a lot of people. My wife, Hope, is a good example. Along with her depressions, she also had a SAD diagnosis (seasonal affective disorder). According to AAFP and WebMD, 4 to 6 percent of people have seasonal winter depressions, and another 10 to 20 percent have SAD. Actually people can be affected by this at any time of year, but it tends to be worse during the winter months. Today, we’re going to talk about what those reasons are, and what you can do about them.

The Science of Gloom

The reasons for winter being known as the “gloomy months” are probably better than you know. The truth is there are a number of physiological factors that go into making us feel less energetic and contribute to the winter slump. When cold temperatures push us to stay indoors, we get less natural exercise, which leads us to feel more slothful. There also tends to be much less Vitamin D to go around, both because of our reluctance to go outside and the shorter days. Cold is also dehydrating, so you may need to drink more water.

Finally, there’s the holidays. Obviously, seasons differ with geographical location, but here in America the biggest holiday season falls during the winter months. You’ve probably heard that the holidays are the biggest time of the year for suicide, and I absolutely believe that everything I’ve mentioned here contributes, as well as the relational pressure of the season.

Staying Active

Most of the advice I have to give you comes down to ways of staving off the urge to curl into a ball and wait out the cold months—that’s the sort of thing that leads to seasonal depression. Challenge yourself. Do your spring-cleaning during the winter, or work on that project you’ve been putting off. Even though it’s hard, the fact is that you have to spend energy to gain energy. If you don’t do anything until you feel energetic, you’ll start feeling energetic less and less often.

Try to bundle up and get outside in spite of the cold. Use Trilogy every day, and if you feel gloomy, depressed, or any of the above, start adding in extra. If you start to feel a virus coming on, try elderberry. You can get it at any health food store, and it’s been proven to stop the replication of viruses.

As always, work on any relationships that cause you stress, which would be the #1 cause of that holiday suicide spike.

Enjoy the Holidays

Remember, all of this is for your benefit, and take all things in balance. Don’t be too religious in things like guarding against over-eating (common during this time of year). The seasons have a real physical effect on us, so if you find yourself going to bed earlier or sleeping later, it may just be that you need more sleep during the winter. If that’s you, don’t worry about it.

The holidays don’t have to be difficult, you don’t have to dread them for the rest of your life. If a relationship is strained in your life, remember that it’s not your job to change the other person. Your job is just to forgive and act in love in whatever you do. When you do that, in large measure, you’re released, regardless of what they choose to do.

Have a blessed, wonderful holiday!

Alex Loyd

Alex

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