breaking news

Ex-Kenton Ridge teacher to be sentenced on manslaughter charge today

How to fight the winter blues

Setting healthy expectations can help someone prepare for emotional change.


The winter months have a way of playing tricks on our emotions as less hours of daylight make it feel as if mealtime is actually more like bedtime.

Colder temperatures, lack of sunlight and an increase in seasonal illnesses can take a toll on even the most upbeat personality. Perhaps that’s why many of us struggle to fight the dreaded winter blues — a feeling of sadness that can often have an impact on how we feel physically.

“Winter blues is known by many different names including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression,” said Anessa Alappatt, MD, a family physician with Fairborn Medical Center. “As winter comes, people become tired, more irritable; they crave carbs, and are less motivated.”

The grey skies and darker days have an influence on millions of Americans. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, up to six percent of Americans suffer from seasonal depression every year, with another 10 percent experiencing a mild form of SAD.

Experiencing the winter woes isn’t anything to be concerned about, but it can have a temporary impact on a person’s physical and emotional health.

“The extra craving of carbs compounded with a lack of motivation to get outside and exercise can lead to weight gain,” said Dr. Alappatt, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “Likewise, relationships and work productivity may suffer from a decreased desire to leave the home or engage in extra activities.”

Dr. Alappatt said a person doesn’t have to let the season come out on top. She’s suggests taking the following steps to lessen your risk of the winter blues:

Prepare for battle – We pull out the winter coat, hat and gloves when we see winter months approaching. Make the same type of preparations for your mental health. Understand that you’ll likely feel a shift in your emotional state and prepare a loose action plan to help combat it.

Replace the sun – Our bodies crave sunlight and its light and warmth have a significant impact on the way we feel. Consider using light therapy, which can mimic the effects of sunlight.

Don’t discount daylight – The skies may be grey and the sun may be in hibernation, but daylight can still help lift our mood. Get outside when it is light as much as possible. Bundle up and take a walk during your lunch break. Get the family out of the house for a quick stroll after dinner.

Plan time with friends and family – Winter months are made for hibernating, but closing yourself into your home isn’t going to help you in the long-run. Make the effort to schedule time with friends and family so that you are forced to come out of your comfort zone and socialize.

Keep the long-view in mind – Understand that this too will pass. The winter blues or even milder forms of SAD are here for a season. Recognizing it will come to an end can usually be all someone needs to know. Consider planning a spring or summer vacation. Sometimes, making plans for a break can be as effective as the vacation itself.

For more information on winter blues or to find a Premier Physician Network physician near you, visit www.PremierPhysicianNet.com.

Premier Physician Network is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to www.premierphysiciannet.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

This Dayton student just got a college diploma before graduating high school
This Dayton student just got a college diploma before graduating high school

Ashli Garnett has had a busy week or so.  The Dayton teenager earned a college diploma on May 6 from Sinclair Community College.  This Wednesday, the Dayton teen will walk across the stage to receive her diploma from Paul Laurence Dunbar Early College High School. The 18-year-old is the first Dunbar student to earn an associate's...
These ‘Boss Chicks’ are on the rise in Dayton and hope to spread their ‘bossy’ ways around the nation 
These ‘Boss Chicks’ are on the rise in Dayton and hope to spread their ‘bossy’ ways around the nation 

Shawon Gullette has been on the receiving  end of advice from “boss chicks” her entire career.  And she says that has been a very good thing. “Women have always been my backbone,” the owner of Dayton Trichology Hair Loss Control Center and Infinitee Salon & Spa said. “I said, let me help other women...
State park slashes prices for rest of the month 
State park slashes prices for rest of the month 

Need a quick getaway?  A trip to Hueston Woods Lodge and Conference Center might be calling.  The state park at 5201 Lodge Road in College Corner near Oxford is offering 50 percent discounts on rooms through May 30.  The weekend dates have been gobbled up since the park first announced the deal, but weeknight rates...
Wright State trustee: University’s next budget is a ‘recipe for disaster’
Wright State trustee: University’s next budget is a ‘recipe for disaster’

Wright State University may meet its budget and avoid state fiscal watch this year but future revenue dips could make doing so again next year just as difficult. WSU administrators are trying to add $6 million to reserves by June 30 to avoid being placed on state fiscal watch. Administrators and trustees have expressed a wide range of opinions in recent...
Aimovig: New migraine prevention drug approved by FDA
Aimovig: New migraine prevention drug approved by FDA

If you suffer from chronic migraines, relief is here. According to The Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration last week approved Aimovig, a monthly shot that aims to reduce migraines. The drug, developed by Amgen Inc. and Novartis AG, is "injected monthly just under the skin using a pen-like device," the AP reported. Its...
More Stories