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Publication: Fifty & Furthermore
Is Winter Making You SAD

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FIFTY & FURTHERMORE - Monday, January 22, 2007

"I'm Dr. Dorree Lynn, founder of FiftyandFurthermore.com. 
Growing older can be a time for creative and passionate 
living, and I will apply my years as a psychologist to help 
you with the challenges and wonders that come with this new 
life stage."

Hello and welcome to FIFTY & FURTHERMORE! 

Today I will share with you an article I wrote about SAD 
- Seasonal Affective Disorder, which could be the cause 
for your winter blues. If you would like to make a 
comment or ask me a question, please email me at the 
address below and as always, I will do all I can to 
provide you with the advice you seek.

As I always say, "life is too hard to do alone - reach 

Dr. Dorree Lynn, Psychologist

Please send questions and comments to: 
email Dr. Lynn

Here on the east coast, it finally feels like true winter 
has descended upon us. Gone are the 60 degree temperatures
we've been having and it seems darker, colder days are 
approaching. For many of you, winter has already been 
leaving its mark for a few months, and you're not alone 
if this leaves you feeling a bit "blah." There actually 
may be a clinical reason for your winter "slump" called 
Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I have written about the 
diagnosis and treatment of it in my most recent article on 
FiftyandFurthermore.com, which I have pasted below. Please 
share your experiences with the winter blues and what has 
worked for you.

Feeling Bad? You May Be Suffering from SAD (by Dr. 
Dorree Lynn)

Those of us Fifty and Furthermore are especially vulner-
able to being shut in during cold, yucky winter days. 
Clouds, ice and snow may not be our best friends. As we 
age we tend to be more sensitive to climatic changes. So 
much so that I actually worked for several years to help 
one client who got depressed every winter - no matter 
what else was going on in her life - move to a warmer, 
sunnier climate. She smiles through winter now in a way 
that is new for her. Although you may not have such a 
severe reaction to the winter months, some people really 
do.  They feel bad because they suffer from SAD.

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Research indicates that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) 
impacts many people as a result of getting less light in 
winter. These winter blahs or blues are real, and although 
not all sadness, lethargy or weight gain is due to not 
getting enough light, some may be. Researchers have proven 
that bright light makes a difference to the brain chemis-
try, although the exact means by which sufferers are 
affected is not yet known.  As the seasons change, your 
mood and behavior can change too. Most people find they 
eat and sleep slightly more in winter and dislike the dark 
mornings and short days. For some, however, symptoms are 
severe enough to disrupt their lives and to cause consider-
able distress.  The symptoms tend to start from around 
September each year, lasting until April, but are at their 
worst in the darkest months. Of course you may simply be 
moody or depressed for tons of other reasons, but if you 
find that you have a pattern of not doing well in winter, 
pay attention to the following:

Symptoms of SAD may include any or all of: 

Depression: Feelings of despair/misery; normal tasks 
become frustratingly difficult; hopelessness; avoidance 
of company; irritability; loss of libido; a sense of 
lethargy; life seems hard and you are too tired to cope - 
everything is an effort.

Oversleeping: Cannot feel refreshed; cannot get out of 
bed; naps in the afternoon.

Overeating: Carbohydrate/other cravings increased, lead-
ing to weight gain

Behavioral problems: Especially noticed in young people. 

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Whether or not SAD is the cause for your woes, here are 
some helpful hints that may make life go better during 
these dark months:

Use a light box. These are used to treat SAD and rely on 
a particular kind of light that the sufferer shines on her/
himself for a set amount of time daily. The light boxes 
have a positive effect on affect. Even a simple and 
inexpensive blue garden light purchased at a garden supply 
shop as a grow light or at an artist supply shop as a day-
light bulb may help.

If light boxes aren’t your thing, standard positive daily 
prescriptions for health are always useful. Create more 
bright lighting into your home.  Go for walks getting in 
touch with nature. Write in a journal or do something 
creative.  Read, listen to upbeat or meditative music, 
enjoy hobbies, and find reason to laugh (including watch-
ing funny movies).   Get up with a purpose, focus, grati-
tude. Eat well and healthily. Drink plenty of water. 
Exercise or do yoga or any body discipline that keeps 
your blood flowing. And if it’s convenient, keep a pet. 
Pets tend to add pleasure for most people and their 
demands for attention keep you focused outside yourself. 
And for a big blast of sun, if you have time and money, 
a trip to warm weather for a break can always be a 

A friend of mine told me that when she lived and worked 
in Denmark and Norway for over 20 years, most days were 
overcast and by 4:00 PM it was dark. She related that 
there were always candles glowing all over the house, in 
every room - the best light for body, mind and spirit. 

And as always, reach out to others. Isolation breeds 
isolation and can make you even SADDER.  If you are a 
Sage, use your wisdom for others. If you haven't yet 
reached those precious years, reach out to someone who 
has. And touch someone you love.  Caring relationships 
and genuine caring touch are about the best healers 

So if you happen to live where winter’s light dims your 
spirit, take an extra dose of care of yourself and 
others. Your may be under the weather – literally. 

     For more insight and advice from Dr. Lynn visit:              


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