It’s been a couple of weeks since we have “sprung forward” and the mood around the RULD office seems brighter somehow. Is it the beautiful spring weather we have been enjoying and extra daylight hours in the evening that’s to blame? There is scientific evidence that suggests that a person’s mood or level of energy can have a direct correlation to exposure to sunlight. Our levels of serotonin - a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory, and mood – are naturally lower in the winter than in the summer. When we begin feeling the winter blues, it could be directly related to these lower levels of serotonin. The disorder known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD, associated with people having low levels of serotonin most often occurs during the winter months.
So, while we may all be feeling a little spring in our step these past few days, here are a few tips to keep feeling energized during the whole year:
Go outside for 15 minutes at the same time every day (prefereably in the morning). Exposure to sunlight will signal your pineal gland to stop releasing melatonin (which makes you sleepy).
Open the blinds! Letting in as much natural sunlight as possible in your home can help.
Exercise outdoors. Taking a walk in the morning or at lunch can alleviate symptons
Stick to a schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps alleviate seasonal depression symptons.
Take a vacation. Breaking your everyday routine and soaking up a week’s worth of sunshine can help break up the winter blues.
Feature, M. (n.d.). What is Seasonal Affective Disorder/Winter Depression? Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/seasonal-affective-disorder
Orenstein, B. (n.d.). 9 Ways to Treat Seasonal Depression (C. Haines, Ed.). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-photos/9-ways-to-treat-seasonal-depression.aspx#09