Winter brings with it cold weather, holiday seasons, and visits from friends and family. It also brings with it doldrums and depression. Called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by clinicians and Winter Depression by the lay community, SAD remains a mystery to many of the scientists and healers that try to treat it. A combination of effects that includes biological chemicals in the brain, ions in the air, etc. the only overarching aspect is the reaction to light. Many of the treatments for SAD include exposure to sunlight or artificial UV light.
Setting aside the clinical definition, winter is a time of death before rebirth in the spring. Most plants and some animals go into hibernation of some form, reducing growth. The earth is covered in areas with snow and ice, chill air carries with it rain that washes away dead leaves and the cobwebs of fall. History and legend shows this is a time when thoughts turn inside. Even fairy tales show the winter months to be filled with wolves and evil witches (no offense to the others). All of this combines to create a mood of sorrow and loss.
Unfortunately, it is also a time for holidays, visiting friends and family, and trying to deal with the hectic vacation season. Children are home for the holidays. While the brain and soul are at low moments, we are expected to be happy and cheerful. This, combined with a new time schedule because of time changes, creates a sometimes-dire situation.
Staying upbeat, getting plenty of light, and trying to retain some semblance of sanity can be difficult but necessary. Taking time to relax and recuperate from mental as well as emotional stress makes the holidays much more enjoyable. Avoiding high stress situations such as shoulder-to-shoulder shopping can also help to support a better attitude and less sorrow during this time. Finally, eating right, sleeping right, and meditation are also key.
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