Winter in Utah can bring some of the most spectacular visions that Mother Nature has to offer and it can also bring one of the most feared. Many Utahians suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) due to the weather phenomena called “Inversion.”
We get it every year, typically in January and February, and it is when the warm air traps the cold air in the valley. Nothing can get in or out. The pollution builds up underneath the layer of clouds, no sunshine gets through and we are left with days of gray skies!
SAD was once thought of as a “made up” disease but recently, it has become a widely recognized affliction with as many as 1 in 5 Americans dealing with its effects. Luckily for us, there are several ways to combat it. The obvious choice would be to just go outside, but in Utah’s case the air is not healthy to breathe and even if we did hit the outdoors, the sunshine can’t get through. So, to help with the gray skies and blue feelings, here are some suggestions to get your happy on:
- Light therapy boxes can help tremendously. Just turn one on for about 30-60 minutes while you are doing a leisure indoor activity like online browsing or reading. It’s amazing how much this can help…artificial sunshine is better than no sunshine at all!
- Exercise regularly. At least 30 minutes a day, three times a week is sure to raise your endorphins and chase out the blues.
- Stay social. And when we say “social,” we don’t mean updating your Facebook status. We mean go o-u-t! Get out with your family and friends and socialize. Go ice skating, take a cooking class or go window shopping downtown.
- Keep up with Vitamin D. Most people rely on the sun to get their Vitamin D, but with the inversion and bundled clothing, your exposure is limited. Be sure to check with your doctor to get the recommended dosage.
- Eat right and sleep well. A balanced diet will ensure your body has what it needs to get you through the day and helps clear your mind so you can focus on tasks at hand. A good night’s sleep is essential in combatting SAD. Sometimes your sleep routine needs to be tweaked just a little to really make a difference. Learn smart sleep habits here: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/depression-and-sleep
- Move to the music. There is absolutely nothing like moving your body to good music. Whether you like rock, pop, country or classical, your brain gets a boost every time you hear music that you love. Don’t forget to dance! Dancing around, even if it is just in your car, can be so much fun!
Bottom line…do the things that you enjoy! Don’t stop. Before you know it, April will be here and we won’t be able to stop smiling!