When the days of November turn gloomy, winter blues can set in. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), holiday burnout, Christmas depression, post-holiday letdown or even cabin fever, all these conditions share depression as a common theme. And all can be treated similarly. Here are winter blues prevention tips and cabin fever relievers. Beat depression with holiday spirit pick-ups and mood-lifters.
Time change lag: Just as you feel jetlag after a time-zone hop, there’s a period of exhaustion like SAD, following a time change. If you life in colder climates with more extreme temperature changes, cabin fever makes it worse. Children and parents are more affected, especially parents with babies and young kids. You can set the clocks ahead or back, but you can’t reprogram your biorhythm clock. It can take a good 2-3 weeks to get used to Daylight Savings time change. So be easy on yourself as you get used to time changes.
Flu, cold and allergies: Late fall to early winter means seasonal allergies. People aren’t used to dressing for the weather. A cold or flu virus on top of allergies may lay you low for several weeks. Getting sick over Christmas vacation, makes depression worse knowing you’re missing out. Boost immunity to infection with a power shake of berries, spinach, banana, grapefruit, plain Greek yogurt and Emergen-C vitamin drink. Up your intake of vitamin C, echinacae, garlic and zinc to beat SAD, and for post-holiday letdown and winter blues prevention.
Work-related SAD and post-holiday letdown: Maybe you don’t travel for Christmas vacation, parents? Maybe you have to work and don’t get enough time off? That’s recipe enough for winter blues. But you might be one of those parents that feel ashamed on top of it–guilty that you can’t afford to take the children on the blowout holiday cruises their friends go on, guilty for having to work during vacation. Guilt layered on disappointment sends post-holiday letdown through the roof. It’s hard when it seems the whole world is traveling and you’re struggling to afford a few toys. You’re not alone–just process any disappointment but don’t give in to guilt. Celebrate the holiday and be glad for what you can do.
Need for vacation/staycation: Having said that, you may really have cabin fever and need a Christmas vacation getaway. Even if you can’t travel, take a mini family retreat. Go out to eat. Work as little as possible. Use disposable paper products to reduce cleanup time. Take day trips around town. Check out old favorite places or try new venues. Get alone-time with your significant other. Indulge a hobby. Do positive things to distract everyone from winter blues and post-holiday letdown. Go someplace bright and cheery to ward off SAD.
Cabin cleaning fever. Depression hits when bright days reveal mess you didn’t get to during Christmas vacation. Come January, you’re back to work and still no time to clean. Then you have to take down all the holiday decorations and that kick starts post-holiday letdown. Now there’s no Christmas vacation, just a lot of cabin fever and winter blues. Don’t go a cleaning frenzy–that leaves you wornout and crabby. But do engage the family in New Year cleanup. Take a few hours and freshen up the house. Wash windows, clean the entryway, vacuum thoroughly after getting rid of the tree.
Get outside as much as possible. Enjoy what sun there is. Bundle up and go sledding. Build a snowman and make snow angels. Enjoy hot cocoa and have a story party. There’s a recipes for a SAD busting mood-lift.