Beating the Winter Blues

We know winter can be tough on a lot of people. Here are some tips on beating the winter blues courtesy of our Nurse Lead, Evelyn Gilkinson.

Keep active

Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.

Get outside

Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can

Keep warm

If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t live a normal life, see your family doctor for medical help. Being cold makes you more depressed. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.

Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).

Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

See the light

Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for up to two hours a day.

Light boxes give out very bright light at least 10 times stronger than ordinary home and office lighting. Some people find that using a dawn simulator [a bedside light, connected to an alarm clock, that mimics a sunrise and wakes you up gradually] as well as a light box can enhance the beneficial effect.

Take up a new hobby

Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of SAD. It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.

See your friends and family

It’s been shown that socializing is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.

Talk it through

Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms.

Join a support group

Sharing your experience with others who know what it’s like to have SAD is very therapeutic and can make your symptoms more bearable.

Seek help

If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t live a normal life, see your family doctor for medical help.


Evelyn Gilkinson is the Nurse Lead for Charlton Health Inc. Before devoting herself solely to Infusing Biologics, Gilkinson worked at Toronto General Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre (Adelaide, Australia), and the London Health Science Centre in Thoracic Step Down, neonate, pediatric and adult Intensive Care, Recovery Room, and Emergency Medicine. Evelyn has done research for The Canadian Cervical Spine Study and with the AIM Health Group. She established the first out-of Hospital Infusion Centres in London and Waterloo. For the last twelve years, Evelyn was the Nurse Supervisor for South Western Ontario for many infusion sites until joining the Charlton team in the summer of 2016.

 

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