We don’t like the wintertime in the Chicago area for many reasons. From the brisk below-zero temps, the icy roads to the snow-covered cars, there are many annoyances associated with this time of year.
But there’s something beyond simple annoyances that can occur in winter: it’s the season with the most cases of illnesses. There’s the common cold, of course, but there is also the flu us and more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
But did you know that there’s a type of mental illness that is common to wintertime too? It’s seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) – a low-grade depression that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Seasonal affective disorder occurs when you don’t get enough sunlight – which is common when the sun is further away from the Earth or covered by snow clouds for large periods of time.
The further north in the United States you are, the higher risk you have of developing seasonal affective disorder. As citizens of the Chicagoland area, that makes our risk higher than normal – especially when you consider how often the sun is blocked by snowfall.
What can you do to prevent it?
If you are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, your medical provider may prescribe supplements to counteract the Vitamin D deficiency you develop without proper amounts of sunlight. You may also need to take medicine prescribed by a psychiatrist if your seasonal affective disorder becomes a more serious depressive disorder.
However, it’s better to avoid getting seasonal affective disorder altogether. The best thing you can do is to get as much sun as you can during the winter months. We’d advise you to spend more time outside, but that would expose you to the harsh winter elements in addition to more sunlight. Instead, you should do whatever you can to get more sunlight inside your home and business.
That means you should make sure all your windows are as clean as possible – dirt and snow residue can block out the remaining precious sunlight that gets past the clouds. You may also want to consider replacing any windows and screens that simply don’t work anymore or don’t allow sunlight through.
You should also consider adding new windows to your walls or ceiling to add more sunlight into darker rooms in your house or business.