Winter Blues

Robert SarnaRobert Sarna Member Rank ✭5✭

We discussed this last year at AFS pkyouth, what do you for the winter blues? Exercise isn't always enough.


  • Alyssa RomigAlyssa Romig Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭5✭

    Great commentary @Corinne Albrecht and great question @Robert Sarna. I personally started using a "happy light" this year and I love it! I especially love it in the morning to wake me up and get going!

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin
    edited January 2020

    This is a super relevant topic, Robert. Thanks for posting it and I hope it gains some traction.

    While I am lucky in that I am not someone who experiences seasonal blues personally, so I cannot speak from experience.. this is a very common topic though so I am familiar with some of the research on strategies, which is included below. Hope these, or suggestions others come up with are helpful.


    A snippet from the link:

    2)Link #1 (scholarly article)  & Link #2 (mayo clinic and less "sciencey")

    Conclusion from schloarly article:

    "CONCLUSIONS: Many reports of the efficacy of light therapy are not based on rigorous study designs. This analysis of randomized, controlled trials suggests that bright light treatment and dawn simulation for seasonal affective disorder and bright light for nonseasonal depression are efficacious, with effect sizes equivalent to those in most antidepressant pharmacotherapy trials. Adopting standard approaches to light therapy’s specific issues (e.g., defining parameters of active versus placebo conditions) and incorporating rigorous designs (e.g., adequate group sizes, randomized assignment) are necessary to evaluate light therapy for mood disorders."

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Bailey Paull-BairdBailey Paull-Baird Member, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    I have heard Light Therapy lamps are helpful! You can find them pretty cheap on Amazon.

  • Theresa MotznyTheresa Motzny Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭3✭

    Extra vitamin D is super important for me!! I also try to get outside every day - even for a few minutes - and make a conscious effort to appreciate whatever Michigan weather is coming our way that day. Breathe it in!! I tell myself that the cold air is "refreshing" and try to appreciate the cool sensations on my skin. Try to change your perspective on the cold. Feel the hair in your nose freeze up! Channel your inner child! (if you need help with that find a child - or a puppy - to play with outside!)

    I also try to embrace the darker, shorter days and natural tendency to hibernate during the colder months as Mother Nature's reset button. If I didn't take this seasonal pause I would probably drive myself into the ground. So chill out and enjoy the break because it won't be like this forever - really, it won't...

  • Robert SarnaRobert Sarna Member Rank ✭5✭

    Lots of great suggestions here as well as Facebook. I'm looking into the therapy lights.

  • Alyssa YavorenkoAlyssa Yavorenko Member Rank ✭2✭

    @Robert Sarna You can check out therapy lights at the Canton Library, if you want to try before you buy! It's in one of their winter Experience To Go kits. I believe you can check out with any area library card (except a select few that don't participate, like Ann Arbor does not), they just have to put your library card in their first. They have a few other seasonal kits that might be helpful with the winter blues. One for cabin fever / hygge and things to do when you're cooped up, one for starting a journal or bullet journal, one for doing some cool karaoke, etc.

  • Robert SarnaRobert Sarna Member Rank ✭5✭

    I ordered a light through Amazon. It came last night. I'll be trying it out when I get back from Kansas City. I can't remember off the top of head which 1 I bought, but it was highly recommended from the google searches and Amazon.

  • Katelyn MeckKatelyn Meck Member, Practitioner admin

    I wanted to put in a late comment to this discussion! It is a known fact that I am not a fan of the sunlight here in Plymouth haha but I cannot deny that during the winter the lack of sunlight and time spent outside can really give people the blues, myself included. I hear many clients wishing the winter time away and how they cannot wait for spring and summer to arrive. But having that mindset, you are essentially dismissing all of the time you are given during the winter months that we could be trying to utilize to it's fullest.

    It is still the perfect time to get up and move, be with family, take full advantage of the sunny days we do have to take a slightly chilly afternoon walk (a breath of crisp and refreshing air could make a difference), try something new in the winter, experiment with all the healthy and hearty winter recipes you can find, etc. When we do experience snow, look for the beauty in it for a few moments before thinking about your drive to work or snow blowing your driveway. @Corinne Albrecht said it well about trying to look at winter as an opportunity:) If it is anything I have and continue to learn about at AFS, is how mindset can make a huge difference in many aspects of life.

  • Chris EarlyChris Early Member, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    I don't often get the seasonal blues, but when I am feeling down in general I like to buy flowers for my kitchen table(which I can view really anywhere except my bedroom as I am in an apartment😋). For me it helps brighten up the space and reminds me of what is to come. I used to do landscaping so the flowers help bring back some of those memories as well as provide some instant gratification.

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