The Joseph Group

Fighting the Winter Blues

January 19, 2024

To Inspire:

Got the winter blues? The medical community calls this seasonal affective disorder (SAD), an actual depression that can happen, most often in winter. The causes are not entirely clear but the shorter days (less sunlight) are thought to trigger a chemical change in the brain that brings about depression-type symptoms. SAD can impact our efforts to live a great life (remember our mission is to help our clients live a great life!), so what can we do about it:

First, don’t overstress if you notice the symptoms of SAD – sadness, less energy, etc. Remember, “this too shall pass.”

Second, even though it’s cold outside, make an effort to get out and expose yourself to sunlight (it comes through even on cloudy days!). A brisk outdoor walk of just 15-30 minutes each day can be very helpful in easing the symptoms of SAD.

Third, if greater light is necessary, consider actual light therapy. This would involve the purchase of a special light called a light box which is much brighter than normal lights. Use the light box early in the morning for 30 minutes or more and see if that doesn’t help ease symptoms (you’ll want to research what light boxes are effective).

Fourth, get plenty of sleep and plenty of exercise. Try running in place if you don’t have a treadmill. Or put on some fun music and dance for 15 minutes each morning. Jump rope, jump up and down, lift some weights – any of these will get your metabolism going and release endorphins in your brain that will lift your spirits.

Fifth, consider a morning gratitude walk. I do this often – walking around the first floor of our house early in the morning (with a cup of coffee of course!) and looking at all of the pictures of my family that are in virtually every room. I find myself cherishing memories and thanking God for the many blessings in my life – most especially Lisa, our children and now our grandchildren! I get a lot of joy from this 5 minute “walk” and I bet you would as well!

And finally, stay connected to others. Don’t stay in your house all day – get to your office or make sure you see friends and family and have real conversation with them.

Seasonal affective disorder is a real condition but experimenting with one or more of the strategies above will really help!

A great life – envision it, build it and live it!!

Stay warm.





Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder