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Don’t Let the Winter Blues Get You Down

For many, coping with the season means shoveling snow and bundling up against polar vortexes. But one of the most influential winter elements is actually sunlight — or lack thereof. Seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression, is a very real thing. Several studies indicate that younger adults have a higher chance of SAD while women are diagnosed more often than men. And with shorter days in winter, it’s a good time to remember that you can prepare for a forecast of fewer hours of daylight — good to know, considering the American Psychiatric Association says that SAD is strongest during the months of January and February.

Exercise may be most effective treatment to boost your mood. But you can also be proactive and keep an eye on the weather. Prolonged periods of overcast days can exacerbate symptoms like fatigue and social withdrawal. Alternatively, a sunny — albeit cold — day could be just the pick-me-up to get through a winter’s stretch. On these days, arrange for some time outside and, ideally, in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.

Next, a brighter house could make for a brighter mood: Create the sunlight artificially by upping the wattage or increasing the number of lights around the house. Also, be diligent about replacing bulbs as soon as they burn out. At the office or home, try to be near windows as often as possible during the day.

Finally, ask your doctor about Vitamin D supplements. Unfortunately, there is only a small amount of vitamin D in food. What’s more, it’s difficult to get the daily requirements from the sun during the winter in this part of the country.

Find more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professional.