Missing Sun Can Be a Real Downer

By: Jaime McCutcheon Email
By: Jaime McCutcheon Email

The snowy conditions on the ground and the gray conditions in the sky are enough to get us all down. There is a name for it - Seasonal Affective Disorder. There are symptoms and there are ways to avoid it.

If you can understand the penguin squawks at the Henry Doorly Zoo, then you'd hear a lot about summer and sun. After all, the lights here are set to recreate summertime in the southern hemisphere. But for the rest of us, reality is the buzz of snow blowers as we deal with the cold and snow.

But Kyle Pelster won't be in that category much longer. After a trip to Enchanted Honeymoons Travel Agency at 108th and West Center, he's ready for a change.

Pelster says, "it''s cold around here this time of year, so I want to get out in the sun."

And travel agents here are seeing a lot more customers like Kyle.

Enchanted Honeymoons Co-owner Kem Matthews says, "well this year seems to have brought out people who want to get out of dodge. Bottom line is it's snowing, it's cold and they just want to get out of town. The phones have really just rang off the hook."

And baby when it's cold outside, where do the frozen masses go?

"Probably the hottest ticket in town is Mexico right now, and what I think it boils down to is it's a great value, it's easy to get to, beautiful, all-inclusive resorts," says Matthews.

And the best thing, you won't find dismal days without sunlight like you will here. Too many days without sun can be a downer - literally. UNMC’s Dr. Layne Prest says, "Seasonal Affective Disorder is what we call a mood disorder, it's in the general category of what we might think of when we think of depression."

Dr. Prest says it can affect any of us and lead to symptoms similar to depression. “Disturbance of appetite, sleep, mood, concentration, energy and there even sometimes can be some anxiety."

If you can't get more light in your life, Dr. Prest tell us exercise, a proper diet and reducing stress can help as we all wait for the winter blues to melt and flowers to replace snow drifts.

The big key to this is light and Dr. Prest says light therapy can help. We can buy light boxes or high intensity light bulbs to put in our home and office. Recreating those longer days of summer can help lift up our mood.

Of course, if you have a serious case of the wintertime blues, it's best to seek the help of a doctor.


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