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December 6, 2004

06 Dec
Around here (Northeast Ohio) the blues and the blahs actually start around Hallowe’en.. probably this has to do with shorter days and starvation for sunlight as much as holiday stress..
Hello there.

Well, here in Northeast Ohio the days are getting shorter, sunny skies are becoming more and more scarce, and the blues, the blahs and depression are majorly on the rise.

Around here, it actually starts around Hallowe’en. In fact, when I was a practicing therapist, no matter where I lived - Chicago, Boston, Washington DC or Cleveland - the phonecalls for appointments always ramped up that first week in November, and stayed intense and plentiful like that for weeks. Sometimes the calls were from new people; sometimes from ex-clients feeling the need for a tune-up. But always, it was this time of year when the phone rang off the hook.

In the old days, we therapists only thought it had to do with holiday blues and stress. Certainly that’s a big part of it for some folks. But I also think it has to do with shorter days and starvation for sunlight. (And of course, there’s starvation and there’s starvation. Here in Cleveland, where we have cloudy "lake effect" in winter, it’s starvation.

In any case, here are some things you can do for depression:
  • Make yourself get out of bed early, even if it’s the last thing on earth you feel like doing. Sleeping late messes up your sleep pattern even more and feeds depression.
  • Move. Exercise. If you’re depressed your body really won’t feel like it, so it has to be an act of will, trusting that, in this case, your mind knows better than your body what it needs. Your body will agree once you get rolling.
  • Eat carefully. Sugar will give you an immediate zap of energy, but ultimately it will depress you more. Same with alcohol. Eat the good, energy-feeding stuff.
  • Try some of those special lamps that mimic sunlight. A half hour a day in the morning can make a world of difference. Shine it on yourself while your on the treadmill and you’ll get a two-fer.
  • Use guided imagery, meditation, breathwork. Our Health Journeys imagery for Depression, Weight Loss, Trauma and Sleep can be a big help; as can Amy Weintraub’s Breathe to Beat the Blues, Suzanne Scurlock’s Healing from the Core, and Ken Cohen’s Qigong videotape.
  • Ask for help.. From your friends and family, assuming you haven’t worn them out already; and, if you have, go to a counselor, a therapist or a support group.
  • Body work can do you a world of good about now. Get a massage or a Reiki treatment or some one-on-one yoga therapy.

That’s it for now.

If you’re looking for an unusual, memorable gift for somebody special, do check out our new gift packs for kids and for adults . They offer some very special, long-lasting benefits that will be appreciated and savored.

Take care,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award