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Adlen Robinson: Kick seasonal affective disorder to the curb
Adlen Robinson

Christmas is almost over and even though I always look forward to New Year’s Eve, my seasonal affective disorder kicks in pretty quickly. 

My “disorder” has never been medically diagnosed or treated, brining me to fully disclose I just think I have this disorder because I truly don’t like the winter and pine for spring. 

In fact, most experts say only 4 to 6 percent of people actually suffer from true SAD. If you think you are in that category, talk to your physician. I am likely just a winter-hater.

Luckily, over the years, I have learned some techniques that help to combat this disorder. So let’s combat SAD.

Keep busy and plan some projects. This has really been a huge help to me. When I have projects to do, that takes my mind off the fact that it is cold, grey, and rainy outside. 

Redoing a room is always a fun thing to do. Whether you remake your bedroom, or do a major remodeling project, staying busy and then seeing the rewarding results of your efforts is always a great way to boost your mood.

Take advantage of warm days. We are lucky enough to live in an area that doesn’t have months on end of snow, ice, and freezing cold. 

Instead, we live where we might have super cold days, followed by days in the upper 50’s or even 60’s. So, when we do have those jolts of warmer weather, go outside and soak up the sunshine and the fresh air. 

I know it is not the same as the 70's and 80’s, but any warmer days will remind you that spring is right around the corner.

Take vitamin D. Hopefully we all learned during the last two years about the importance of vitamin D, this vitamin is especially important to take during the winter. 

Natural vitamin D (via the sun) is the best, but supplemental D is also beneficial. Most people are deficient in vitamin D, so please consult your doctor and make sure you are getting enough.

Exercise. I know, I know. We all know we should exercise regularly. But seriously, during these winter months, we all need to just move more. 

If I am being honest, I almost never want to go downstairs to our home gym to work out. I play a mind game in my head and tell myself I will just work out for 10 or 15 minutes. 

But guess what? Once I start pedaling my bike or walking on the treadmill, my adrenaline starts pumping and I feel great. That makes me pick up those weights and get in a true workout. 

As one of my daughters says, “You never regret working out.” It’s true.

Eat healthy. Sort of along the same lines as the above exercise advice, but it truly does make a difference when it comes to how you feel. Of course the cold weather often makes us crave comfort foods, but make sure to balance those with some healthy choices. For example, if you are craving chicken and dumplings, (and frankly, who doesn’t?), have a small helping along with a green salad. In addition, many comfort foods are already healthy. A cozy beef stew is completely healthy. So is chicken noodle soup. In fact, most soups and stews are healthy or can be tailored to be so. Add a green salad and a small chunk of bread, and you are staying true to your health commitment and also loading up on your comfort component.

Stay hydrated. Sometimes people get even more dehydrated in the winter. When you are not hot and sweating, you might not realize you need water. But you do 

Drink all day long, even when you are not thirsty. Try to get into the habit of drinking a few glasses of water when you first wake up in the morning.

Think about it — you have been asleep and not had water for eight hours or more. Your body definitely needs water. Drink up. This will also help your brain combat those negative feelings.

Go someplace warm. If you are lucky enough to be able to take a vacation, go somewhere warmer than here. Florida is not that far away. 

Recently Paul had to go to Orlando, Fla., on business for a few days, and I was lucky enough to tag along. 

It was 80-plus degrees, sunny, breezy and there was no humidity. Hello? I stayed outside pretty much all day and into the night. It was heavenly.

Keep up the humor. Watch funny movies and listen to comedians. There is a reason why the saying “Laughter is the best medicine,” is an age-old phrase. Who doesn’t love to laugh?

Lastly, if you are a plant/gardener lover like me, you really need to think about starting some seedlings indoors.

Honestly, I don’t really have any luck doing this, but it just makes me happy to be planting and growing seedlings in anticipation of spring.

Attention fellow winter-haters. We will get through this! 

Adlen Robinson is an award-winning columnist and author of “Organic Food and Kitchen Matters.” You can email her at