From braving slick, ice-covered roads to piling on layers upon layers of clothing in an effort to try and stay warm, almost everyone seems to be falling into the winter doldrums.
The sun’s rays are weakened and even the smallest of tasks seem like a chore, but there are things people can do to boost their mood.
Often accompanied by sadness, fatigue, hunger and trouble sleeping, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “Winter Blues” or “Winter Depression,” is a very real disorder which can affect even the most cheerful of dispositions.
“Science says the ‘Winter Blues’ are real because we get less sunshine,” said Blue Mountain College Language and Literature Professor Sherrell Settlemires. “My advice is to stay in well-lit rooms and get exercise which increases endorphins, a body hormone that elevates mood.”
Farmington resident Tabitha Patience Duncan believes that the drastic shift in outlooks is due to being cooped up indoors.
“I believe it’s more depressing because you can’t get out and its cold,” she said.
Kroger employee Brandon Vanderford of Rienzi agrees.
“It’s a real thing. There’s less sunshine, fewer outdoor activities and holiday stress. Plus, the kids are back in school and all that goes with that,” he said. “It’s definitely more stressful than summer time for most.”
Executive Director Crystal Sweeney of the Corinth Ballet recommends taking advantage of the sun’s benefits.
“I get up at sunrise to combat them and get the much needed vitamin D,” said the Turning Pointe Dance Academy owner.
Franklin Courtyard Owner Margaret Bradley agreed whole-heartedly saying that “sunshine provides a special vitamin for the soul.”
Gift Bottom resident Keith Jones is just trying to stay busy and keep his mind occupied.
“Having to stay inside makes me nervous and agitated,” he said. “I always make sure I have an inside project to work on. This year’s task is to rework one of the bathroom shower stalls.”
“That should keep me busy,” he added.
Author Robert Broughton expressed his sentiments when it comes to the seasons.
“I mourn the winter and celebrate the spring,” he said.
Booneville resident Joel Counce believes the shorter days and less vitamin D are definitely a factor.
“I just try and do things I would do when I’m happy,” he said. “I hang out with people who make me laugh, watch something funny on TV or just go do something I’d normally do for fun.”
Katie Rippy of Corinth suggests eating foods that are high in antioxidants.
“Consuming fruits and vegetables such as blueberries and spinach will help keep your immune system working which is a huge plus with all the colds that spread this time of year.”
Having lived up north for much of her life, Corinth resident Nora Kelly spent two years in Fairbanks, Alaska while going to college.
“The daylight hours only lasted for maybe five or six hours in the heart of winter and could get down in the -40s,” she said. “Getting daily vitamins, using full spectrum light bulbs and maintaining your routine go a long way in helping.”
“Also, if weather permits, get out, visit with friends or take a walk,” she continued. “Stay busy and listen to upbeat music.”
Surrounding ourselves with lighter, happier shades of color can also lift our mood.
“I even made my husband, Casey paint our living room a lighter shade,” said Martin, Tennessee resident Michal Ortner. “I also open up the window blinds when it’s practical and not 10 degrees outside.”
A former resident of Corinth, Photographer Dez Newcomb says there are a lot of things that can be done to banish the blues.
“We use essential oils like Doterra’s “Cheer” in diffusers and humidifiers which seems to help,” she said. “UV light lamps are also a good investment since they mimic the sun’s rays.”
“It is very important to spent at least 20 minutes per day in the sun which can be very hard for people who go to work and school,” she added.
Katie Sexton of Horn Lake tries to make healthier choices in the winter.
“I try to spend a little more time in the sun and eat better,” she said. “I also sometimes take a multi-vitamin.”
Bolivar, Tenn., resident Greg Rivers believes a change of scenery is in order.
“The best way to shake the blues is to get on a ship and take a cruise,” he said. “Head south to the warm air and blue sea.”
For those unable to spend some time aboard a cruise, a short road trip, a visit to a loved one’s home or a peaceful stroll could be just the ticket.
Dressing weather appropriately, getting adequate sleep and staying hydrated are a few other steps in the right direction.