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How to Combat the Winter Blues

Michigan can winters can be brutal.  We get snow–though not as much as other places.  We also can have really cold temperatures–sometimes even colder than Alaska.  But, what really seems to make winter so hard in the mitten state is the seemingly never ending months of gray skies.  In fact, an article for Thrillist actually ranks Michigan as the state with the 2nd worst winter in the country.

Combine cold temperatures with short days and a significant lack of sunlight, and it is not surprising that our moods can take a turn for the worse during the fall and winter months.  Even more than just winter blues, some of us may even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  SAD is defined as “…a kind of depression that follows the seasons.”  Though it can occur in the spring and summertime, it is more commonly found during the winter months.

Could You Be Suffering From SAD?

Some of the common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:

  • “Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide”

(Seasonal affective disorder, Mayo Clinic)

If you think you may have SAD, you can try some of these natural treatments, and of course, speak with your doctor.  SAD should not necessarily be confused with typical winter blues and brushed away.

How to Help SAD and Winter Blues

Lack of light and sunshine is thought to be a major contributor to SAD.  Therefore, one of the best ways to combat the symptoms is to get a little bit more light in your life.  Even if you don’t have SAD, these tips can still help with any feelings of winter blues.  Here’s how:

1. Start Using a Light Therapy Box

These special lights are designed to mimic sunlight, and it is recommended that you sit in front of one for about a half hour per day.  If you aren’t ready to make an investment yet, sometimes public libraries will check them out to you for a short amount of time.

2. Open Up the Curtains

Open the curtains and blinds during the day to let in all of the sunlight that you can.  Even if the skies are gray outside, exposing yourself to a little bit of sun should help.  Opening up the curtains during the day for the sun can also help to naturally heat your home, which will in turn save energy.  Win-win!

3. Get Outside

I know it’s cold.  I know it seems like a better idea to stay on the couch, but it is not.  Make an effort to get outside for a little bit each day.  You won’t regret it!

*Please note that at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical we are not medical professionals.  SAD is a medical condition that you should check in with your doctor about.  Our goal is to simply help everyone stay comfortable and healthy in their homes throughout the year.

Looking for more ways to keep your home in the comfort zone this winter?  Contact us at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical!

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