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Don’t Be SAD, Get GLAD

Every year, as the days get shorter, we dread the long winter months and the lack of sunlight. Those who embrace winter sports look forward to this time of year, but the rest of us patiently wait for spring. For some people, the shorter days bring on a seasonal clinical depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is distinct from the more prevalent and milder winter blues. 


How can we prevent this? I have put together the acronym GLAD to give some pointers on how to avoid winter blues: 


G – Get active! Movement is a great antidepressant or as the physiotherapists say, “Motion is lotion.” Getting outdoors for a 20 minute walk on a crisp day or exercising indoors on an icy, slippery day can do so much for our mental state.  


L- Laugh with friends! Community and friendship is also a great mood booster. Plan a weekly get-together, even if just for coffee with a friend. Join a community class to dance or to engage in something you have wanted to learn, but be with people and take time to laugh. 


A – Attitude. The Danish approach winter with the concept of Hygge, meaning time for comfort and coziness at home. Instead of dreading winter, they embrace the opportunity to curl up under the covers and read a book or do things indoors. 


D – Vitamin D. Take 1000 to 2000 IU of the sunshine vitamin every day to help with the deficit of vitamin D we incur every year due to living in shorter days. There is much evidence for the benefit of vitamin D for bone health, cancer prevention and mood. 


Have a wonderful winter and be glad you did! 


Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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