Winter blues: light therapy and lifestyle changes can help

Feb 5, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2023, 4:04 pm




SALT LAKE CITY – With the chilly weather and the shorter days, many people are prone to experience the winter blues.

In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Jason Hunziker from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute about how light therapy and other lifestyle changes can help people overcome the winter blues.

Seasonal depression

Many people know the term seasonal depression. How does it differ from seasonal affective disorder?

“Seasonal affective disorder is actually just a subtype of major depression,” said Dr. Hunziker.

The reason it’s called seasonal is because it comes at around the same time every year. Seasonal depression, or the winter blues, is different because it doesn’t reach into the level of an intense depressive episode.

There’s actually quite a lot of people who suffer from some type of seasonal depression in the country.

“A large proportion of those are people between the ages of 18 and 30. Women have a higher rate of seasonal depression than men do… Depending on where you’re located in the country, those rates could be higher,” Dr. Hunziker said.

Utah is one of those states where more people experience this, and that’s because the winters here are very tough. Dr. Hunziker believes that people shouldn’t take this lightly, and he has some lifestyle changes that can help.

Light therapy

One thing that’s fairly affective is light therapy. What is it and how does it work?

They’re specially made lamps that filter out the ultraviolets rays to give you the light you need while protecting your eyes and skin. You can place them anywhere you’d like, so you can use it first thing in the morning.

Maria likes to keep her Christmas lights up until the end of January, and Dr. Hunziker says even that can help you get moving through the day.

Listen to the full episode below to hear the rest!

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Winter blues: light therapy and lifestyle changes can help