Turn Those Winter Frowns Upside Down

Lets continue our conversation about ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder.

After last weeks blog, a friend of mine left a question/comment, “I'm curious what your take on why winter affects or affected you so negatively. We grew up in a fairly cold and snowy area [Maryland], and even living in Dallas for 5 years, I still handle cold much better than heat.” –Gerald Schott 

Let’s take this in 2 parts.

First: If you know me well, you know I like the sun (and that’s an understatement); and not seeing the sun during the winter really gets me down (some close friends call winter “Mandy’s cranky season”). Yet, I grew up in the Greater Baltimore area, so you would that I would be used to the cold weather. I actually used to be! As a child, I Loved the cold (heck, I even played Ice Hockey); but I moved to El Paso, TX when I was 19, then I moved to Southern California for a few years, next to Las Vegas for 4, then back to Cali for a few more. All in all, I spent most of my adult years in relatively warm and sunshine filled climates. I think that moving to Kentucky was a shock to my now-seasoned-to-warm-weather body. Kentucky winters tend to be very grey and overcast (much more so than Maryland) and that makes it seem colder and causes me to miss the sunshine even more.

Second: That Gerald (and other people) happens to like the cold (and I don’t). I think you may actually get more sunshine in Texas than gloomy days. That plays a huge roll! For example, Colorado gets really cold, but they get a TON of sunshine! That makes for happier dispositions. Lets also remember that each individual is different, it’s person to person. Some people are just generally more cold natured than others and some people are just more attracted to certain types of weather, no matter where they live.

I’ve tired many things (to include even hitting tanning beds in the winter) to try to help elevate my mood. Honestly, I don’t have a 1 shot solution. In addition to what Andrea Johnston mentioned last week, here’s how Massage and Yoga might assist.

One way to help is getting a massage
The American Massage Therapy Association catalogs several ways in which massage therapy can help to counteract physiological mood factors that often accompany SAD. According to the AMTA, massage can:
·       Reduce anxiety and depression with a course of care providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
·       Increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety.
·       Significantly decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.

Movement is also extremely important! Aerobic movement of any kind helps to boost your brains dopamine levels, which can lead to a boost in endorphins; this can aid in reducing anxiety and depression. If you like the cold weather, then bundle up and get outside, go on a hike or just walk around the neighborhood! If you’re stuck inside, why not try some Yoga! Take 5-15min a day to do a simple Sun Salutation will do more for you than you realize! Better yet, get yourself to a Yoga Class!

 If winter has got you down, get yourself a massage and do some yoga!


  1. Thanks for the answer! I would agree that sunlight plays a big role in one's demeanor. That being said, I'd be willing to bet you spend considerably more time outside than I do, as I am indoors roughly 50 hours a week during the day. But, you got me curious about relative sunshine between our areas. Sunshine doesn't appear to be as well tracked as say temperatures and precipitation, but based on what 20 minutes of Google-Fu shows, DFW gets 232 days of sun to Lex's 190. It's an interesting analysis, to be sure.


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