Health & fitness: Beat the winter blues for health

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By Kim Lazarus

If you answer yes to some of the following questions you may be experiencing the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder.

• Have you experienced symptoms like wanting to sleep more in the winter?

• Do you tend to overeat in the winter months?

•  Are you withdrawing from social events or maybe feel anxious at times?

• Do you have moments of irritability or get more headaches?

• Are you craving more sweets and carbohydrates?

• Do you feel unmotivated to exercise or engage in any type of physical activity?

• Have you recently gained weight?

As the days get shorter many people experience some of these symptoms and tend to blame it on the holidays. However, there may be more to the lethargy, stress and weight gain than the holidays.Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is also the time where there are fewer daylight hours and colder temperatures.Some helpful hints to overcome the winter blues include getting outside during the daylight hours. Taking a walk at lunch or going outside during a break from work may help capture some natural vitamin D from the sun. In Alaska, where daylight is minimal for months at a time, many people purchase full spectrum lights and sit in front of the light for 10 to 15 minutes a day.On weekends it is advisable to plan some fun activities outdoors during daylight hours.Exercising at least three times per week will also raise endorphin levels and help combat the blues.Reading books, listening to music and watching movies can also lift spirits.It is important, however, to be selective in your choices to promote positive thoughts.Surrounding yourself with positive people will also help lift spirits.Putting colorful flowers in a room and wearing brighter colored clothing helps elevate moods.Opening blinds in the house will allow more sunlight to enter through the windows.Best of all, laugh more. Laughter has a lot of positive effects on the body.Los Alamos has beautiful hiking trails, a great outdoor skating rink and a ski hill. We are all fortunate to have the opportunity to get outside every day for our dose of daylight.

Kim Lazarus is a local chiropractor and can be contacted at B-Fit Chiropractic, 662-1905, for further consultation regarding the information written in this column.