Is it too early in the fall to start talking about winter blues? Given the year that we’ve had so far, maybe the conversation could have started last month to be even better prepared.
Depending on where you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the number of daylight hours is growing seasonally smaller, which means less light over a 24-hour day. To compare extreme changes from summer to winter, let’s take a trip to the Pacific Northwest for a tale of two cities.
Rainy Days and Mondays
Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, are two major cities that are in relatively close proximity on opposite sides of the US-Canada border. This means that the changes in the number of daylight hours during the year are similar in both locations.
Both cities receive around 16 hours of daylight around the first days of summer. Come the onset of winter, that lighted time is reduced to about 8 hours for each city. Anyone who lives along the length of the Canada-U.S. border experiences a similar change. Of course, the further north you go, the darker the days get as the coldest season of the year unfolds.
One of the effects of these darker days is the winter blues, which can bring on gloomy feelings and a lack of energy and enthusiasm. The tiredness aspect is associated with our biological clocks, which sound the inner alarm that tells us it’s time to go to sleep when it gets dark.
Of course, people who live in Seattle or Vancouver usually have to deal with relentless rain as well, intensifying the winter blues and creating an atmosphere where rainy days and Mondays may always get them down.
Beyond the Winter Blues
The good news is that a case of the winter blues isn’t debilitating. Like being in a bad mood, the effects are short-term, but its duration can increase the need for comforting activities, such as reading a good book, watching an enthralling movie, spending quality time with family or friends, etc. However, if the winter blues descend into seasonal affective disorder (SAD), life takes a psychological turn for the worse.
SAD is fittingly named given its status as a “recurrent major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern usually beginning in fall and continuing into winter months,” as defined in a research article published in the Depression Research and Treatmentjournal. This condition takes a lack of daylight to a far deeper level of low. It’s sadly debilitating and requires help to overcome.
If you agree with the axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” then you have reached the main point of this blog: it’s a good idea to do whatever possible to avoid the onset of the winter blues or SAD. This includes spending time outdoors during daylight hours, getting some exercise and eating healthy food.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends a number of nutritional steps to lighten up the darker days ahead and help sidestep symptoms of SAD or the winter blues. The right kind of nutrition can be comforting as well as healthy. For example, leafy greens have been shown to be vital for decreasing symptoms.
Effective in improving and maintaining overall health, proper nutrition can help you to stay ahead of the winter blues.
Drinking green beverages daily can help take the blues out of winter. Concentrated whole-food powders such as BarleyLife and CoCoa LeafGreens deliver a rich source of plant leaf powders: barley, arugula, Swiss chard, spinach and kale. Providing two convenient ways to increase your plant-based intake, BarleyLife and CoCoa LeafGreens offer the wealth of beneficial nutrients found in leafy greens.