WINTER BLUES (BLAHS): symptoms, depression, treatment, vitamins, etc, – I say,”Don’t be SAD!*”

Vol. 3, No.31, Monday, November 12th , 2012

TITLE: “WINTER BLUES (BLAHS): symptoms, depression, treatment, vitamins, etc, – I say,”Don’t be SAD!*”


Winter is just around the corner. I often have read that November is the worst month of the year – this makes sense to me as days are shorter and nights are longer. (The next is February – it’s cold and dreary; and by the time, it arrives, we have endured much during the winter.) With very little sunshine, November is known to be gray and gloomy. A downturn in spirit is common. Therefore, today’s topic is the winter blues. I’m so glad that you came by. Get ready – here’s a dose of Antoinette’s info and suggestions – it’s good medicine with no after effects! My book of the week is “Winter Blues, Fourth Edition: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder” [Paperback] by Norman E. Rosenthal MD (Author) (Editor’s Note: This is another in my continuing series on health.)


November’s low spirit is also called the winter blahs or blues. The technical name is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it can cause depression, reduce your productivity, and make it harder to control your appetite. With the lack of sunlight, we tend to have a decreased level of serotonin. Now if you ask:”How can we beat the winter blues or SAD?”,  I have some thoughts.

Me, myself and I: I exercise regularly, so that’s a mood lifter for me.  In the past few years, I have also taken up skiing. Although I haven’t skied often, I had a great time when I did. 

As a mother: When my daughters were teenagers, I was pleased that they went skating or skiing especially on school outings.  They enjoyed these winter sports and afterwards, continued to do so. 

As a grandmother: I am pleased to say that my granddaughter went skating with her pre-school.  Apparently, she didn’t like it as she fell too many times.  Hopefully, she’ll learn how to skate better – she’ll probably change her mind about the sport. I hope so.

THE AUTHOR: Norman E. Rosenthal MD.

Norman E. Rosenthal MD., a therapist in private practice is known for making primary contributions to comprehending SAD and treating it with light therapy. Rosenthal is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and the author of five books. For over 20 years, he has led research at the National Institute of Mental Health.



Several are:

THE BOOK: Winter Blues, Fourth Edition: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder [Paperback] by Norman E. Rosenthal MD (Author)

In wintertime, with shorter days and less sunlight, millions of people feel their energy level drop and their mood decline. In this book, Dr. Rosenthal explains what causes this disorder and how we could deal with it.  There is a self-test to guide you. The book includes information on possible approaches: a) Light therapy developments; b) Antidepressant medications, c) Self-help strategies; d) Recipes especially for winter, quite healthy and easy; e)  Motivational piece on exercise; f) Strategy to organize one’s schedule for seasonal changes; g) Tips how to show support to loved ones and friends. Becoming aware and understanding is a big step towards feeling better.


Winter is coming … winter is coming! The winter blues and blahs affect thousands of people every year.  Is there anything to be done? If so what?

The first step is to become aware of the blahs and blues and then to understand more and then to beat it.  

Personal Comments

I say:

  • That living in Canada brings us short days and long nights during the winter. Staying home and feeling sorry for yourself is the worst thing you could do. Hibernating for the winter months is not a solution – let’s leave that to the bears. Instead, let’s make the most of our winters.
  • That especially now that we’re well into November, we must look at winter in a positive aspect – winter could be fun. For example, the first snowfall could be magical.
  • That it’s important to be active in the winter months. Let’s start by getting outdoors when we have a sunny day. 

The Point

Let’s beat the winter blues. It’s a matter of attitude.  It will also take some effort. 


Everyone should:

1.      Have a goal for the end of the winter be it financial or fitness related – Join a gym

2.      Go outside, in the winter months, on a nice day and enjoy the sunshine –

  1. Dress warm and go for a walk 
  2. Experience the first snow storm; when it happens, feel the light snowflakes on your face
  3. Make a snowman

3. Take up a winter sport:  skiing, skating, snowboarding, ice fishing, curling, etc.

4.      Stay home and opt for something relaxing and enjoyable – try

  1. Watching your favorite movie
  2. Listening to good music or read a good book
  3. Entertaining family, friends at home
  4. Roasting marshmallows in front of a fireplace
  5. Playing board games

5. Go to the movies

6. Go on vacation, if you can do it, in the winter to a warm, sunny place as sunshine is so important to us – we need vitamin D. This will definitely bring up your spirits.

Let’s do lunch – our excuse can be getting through the (winter) blues!

That’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*” 

PREVIEW (Tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 19th 2012): SHOWBUSINESS … Italian style. I just caught two great shows that came to my town. The first was Joe Avati, an Australian comic of Italian descent. And then in the same week, I attended a concert of Al Bano – he is described as the voice of Italy. It was wonderful. I will tell you all about it. Why not come by – you will be entertained. I will hold a ticket just for you!

PREVIEW (now tentatively re-scheduled for early January 2013): I was at the gym awhile back and a fellow was explaining to a young woman (a newbee at weights and workout machines) that discipline was essential if you want to get fit and in shape. It got me to thinking about (self-) discipline to being the key to success whatever the pursuit. That week, I will upload a post on  discipline … as long as I stay disciplined enogh to write it! Please come by to see if I managed to do it!

P.S. Wowee …Wowee Shop Valente is finally open; and my new line of Antoinette La Posta* brand of clothing is now available. There is still much more to come to the Save and Read* Web site. Watch for it!

 P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta

-Web Tech:

The above is a new media production of Valente under its “United Author*” program.
*TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.




 S & R* QUOTE #1: Karen Armstrong

“Like art, religion is an imaginative and creative effort to find a meaning and value in human life.” (Source: Wisdom Quotes) –

S & R* QUOTE #2: Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”  (Source: Wisdom Quotes) – 

S & R* QUOTE #3: Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” (Source: Wisdom Quotes) –


 For today, my word/phrase(s) are: “seasonal affective disorder”;

Seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer,[1] spring or autumn year after year. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is “a specifier of major depression”.[2] (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder, with its prevalence in the U.S. ranging from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.7 percent in New Hampshire.[3]

SAD was formally described and named in 1984 by Norman E. Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health.[6][7]

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionized-air administration,[8] and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.[9]

Symptoms of SAD may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, morning sickness, tendency to oversleep and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities and decreased sex drive.[citation needed] All of this leads to depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder.[citation needed] People who experience spring and summer depression show symptoms of classic depression including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, social withdrawal, decreased sex drive,[5] and suicide.

Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related to light. An argument for this view is the effectiveness of bright-light therapy.[12] SAD is measurably present at latitudes in the Arctic region, such as Northern Finland (64°00′N) where the rate of SAD is 9.5%.[13] Cloud cover may contribute to the negative effects of SAD.[14]

SAD was first systematically reported and named in the early 1980s by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., and his associates at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Rosenthal was initially motivated by his desire to discover the cause of his own experience of depression during the dark days of the northern US winter.

In many species, activity is diminished during the winter months in response to the reduction in available food and the difficulties of surviving in cold weather. Hibernation is an extreme example, but even species that do not hibernate often exhibit changes in behavior during the winter.

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy, medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully timed supplementation[24] of the hormone melatonin.

Bright light therapy, or phototherapy, has been used for over 20 years to treat SAD[58] with numerous studies citing its effectiveness.[59][60] Light therapy is recommended as a first-line treatment for SAD in Canadian, American, and international clinical guidelines.[60] The mood of individuals with SAD can improve with as little as 20 minutes of bright light exposure.[61] Bright light is more effective than dim light in protecting against “mood lowering” which commonly occurs in SAD.[61][62]p2 » (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


S & R*NEWS ALERT*#1: Parenting tips for childhood depression

“It’s natural for your child to feel sad or anxious at times, but if these emotions persistently show up, they could be indicators of depression. According to a recent RBC Children’s Mental Health poll, 60 per cent of parents said they would feel nervous or worried if their child indicated signs of a mental health issue. Here are some warning signs of depression to watch for:

The blues Does your child show little interest in activities or friends he or she used to enjoy? Monitor the situation, which may be more serious if the sadness persists for more than a month.

Changes in appetite Has your child recently experienced any weight loss or gain?

Sleep problems Does your child sleep too much and seem lethargic constantly or have trouble sleeping? This could be indicative of a larger problem.

Frequent complaining -Pay attention to complaining, particularly about health problems that seem to have no physical cause. They may have vague “aches and pains”, and miss school frequently.

Trouble getting along with others. A child or teenager who is picked on, teased, or excluded, may be depressed and need help. Pay special attention if your child is becoming socially isolated.

Problems with schoolwork. If your child’s grades are slipping, or they are neglecting homework, these may be signs that they are having trouble concentrating. Worry could be keeping them from doing their best work.

The RBC Children’s Mental Health Project provides a number of trusted resources available for parents at These tips were drafted with the assistance of Ceridian Canada, the company’s employee assistance provider.” 

S & R*NEWS ALERT*#2: How to help your teenager deal with stress

“Stress and pressure are normal parts of life. They can push us to achieve more and do better. But too much stress and pressure can pose serious challenges for some teenagers, especially during this time of self-discovery as they grow into adulthood.

For teenagers, success and failure in school can be as close as the next paper, test or report card. When kids fail, they can feel that they are alone and that everybody else can do something they cannot. Even though you may know this isn’t true, it’s best not to dismiss your teenager’s feelings. As a parent, you can help by acknowledging your child’s feelings and taking them seriously.

Talk about some of your own failures and what it feels like to fail or to be disappointed by someone you trust.

Remind them that most of us learn more from our mistakes and failures than from our successes.

Let them know that you care about him or her regardless of whether they succeed or failand that you respect their effort.

Fears and anxieties are normal. It’s the way an individual deals with them that makes a difference. If we focus too much on fears and anxiety, they can control our lives.

The RBC Children’s Mental Health Project provides a number of trusted resources available for parents at These tips were drafted with the assistance of Ceridian Canada, the company’s employee assistance provider.”

*TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 11:40 am and is filed under General Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


2 Responses to “WINTER BLUES (BLAHS): symptoms, depression, treatment, vitamins, etc, – I say,”Don’t be SAD!*””

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