Depression in humans has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. A 2017 study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that an estimated 17.3 million adults has had at least one major depressive episode, characterized by a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, as well as problems with sleeping, eating, energy, concentration and self-worth. I expect that more recent statistics will probably show even higher numbers, especially considering the mental health challenges wrought by the pandemic.Continue Reading
We’ re reaching that time of year where, even though the days are getting longer, winter just doesn’t seem to want to end, and the longer days of spring and summer seem ages away. While this is felt by most people to some degree, some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. This is known as the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While severe cases may require treatment by a physician, here are some tips that can help until spring arrives.
- In addition to the obvious things like eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep, make sure you schedule activities that get you outside, no matter what the weather. Even a few minutes of natural light a day can make a difference in how you feel.
- Put more light into your life. Having a lot of lights on in your house may not be a substitute for natural sunlight, but it can raise your spirits. When it’s dark outside, a dark, gloomy house just contributes to a low mood. Replace ordinary light bulbs with full-spectrum bulbs. For severe cases, consider getting a lightbox.
- Reframe your thoughts about winter. Even if it’s not your favorite time of the year, find something to appreciate about the season. If it wasn’t for fall and winter, we wouldn’t enjoy spring as much.
- Reiki has been proven to help with depression by putting the body, mind and spirit into a deep state of relaxation. Even one treatment can provide immediate relief.
When all else fails, curl up with a good book, a cup of hot chocolate and your favorite pet, and enjoy the cold, dark days from a warm spot on your sofa!