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Beat the Winter Blues

en Español

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January 5, 2023
Brandi Silver

This is Brandi Silver, FCS agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. Our program today is about beating the winter blues.

Does this time of the year make you feel a little down and lethargic? If so, you are not alone. Approximately 5% of the American population experiences seasonal depression.

The temperatures are cold, the days are short and the nights are long. With fewer daylight hours and cold temperatures many of us want to hibernate. Scientifically, our bodies produce less serotonin (a feel-good chemical in the brain) and more melatonin, (a sleep-producing chemical) during these darker, colder days.

The good news is there are several evidence based treatments that can be effective in alleviating your symptoms. The first line of defense is sunlight. Exposing yourself to natural light will boost serotonin production and your overall mood. Research consistently shows a solid exercise-mental health connection. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes most days can provide a huge mood boost. Maintaining a regular schedule will help normalize your circadian rhythms. Don’t overindulge on simple carbohydrates many of us refer to as comfort foods. Instead aim for a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables! Finally, make (and keep) plans with friends and families to help you stay connected to your loved ones. Speak with a doctor or mental health professional if you want some specific, very personalized help. This has been Brandi Silver with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. For more information, contact us 764-9480.