Hope for the Winter Blues

1 in 5 people have a dip in their mood as the light fades in fall and winter. Below are treatments that work; click on each to learn more.

Light Box 
These bring a burst of morning light to dark winter days. They are as bright as a summer beach and work as well as medication.

Dawn Simulator 
These lights create a virtual sunrise to make up for the dim, late sun of winter mornings. They work almost as well as a light box, and are much easier to use (they work while you sleep).

Brisk Awakening
This behavioral technique improves mood and sleep (tip: it’s is a lot easier when paired with a dawn simulator).

Air ionizer 
These air purifiers replenish negative air ions, which otherwise tend to drop during winter. They also give off a natural scent, similar to a waterfall or ocean breeze, which are natural sources of negative air ions.

Cold weather doesn’t cause depression, but inactivity does. Light aerobic exercise 45 minutes every other day lifts winter and non-winter moods.

Therapy and medication
On average, these approaches work equally well for winter depression. Buproprion and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have the most research support.

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“Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds.”

Andrew Solomon • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

“Denouncing these medicines makes as much sense as denouncing the immorality of motor oil. Without them, sooner or later the bipolar brain will go bang.”

David Lovelace • Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

“There is no harm in taking medication as it is utilizing the wisdom God gives to doctors. But it is also your responsibility to build faith for healing while using medication.”

Paul Silway • Pastor

“Being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”

Carrie Fisher • Actor and Author