The feelings at this time of year that leave many of us with a sense of sadness, emptiness, loneliness, and even depression are referred to as the “winter blues” – but they are also called the “holiday blues.”
These winter/holiday blues suppress the immune system. As you will see, to cure the winter/holiday blues and restore the health of your immune system, it is important to realize they are actually two different phenomena.
Winter Blues – Caused by Lack of Physical Light
Technically, and physiologically, the saddest day of the year is December 21, winter solstice, the day with the least amount of daylight hours. It is a scientific fact that when sunlight shines in your eyes, it transmits a signal in the brain to make serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. Serotonin is known as the “feel-good” hormone. Less sunlight in each day results in lower levels of serotonin in the brain, this correlates with feelings of sadness, isolation, and irritability – a blue mood. Sunlight is also needed for the production of Vitamin D, which is produced by the action of sunlight on the skin.
Holiday Blues – Caused by a Lack of Spiritual Light
Many people claim that mid January is actually the saddest time of the year. This is the result of the holiday blues – an emotional letdown that follows the holidays. Margaret Stump, a licensed family and marriage counselor with the Mayo Clinic health system, says that holiday blues are a result of people’s exceedingly high expectations of what Christmas should be. “With such high expectations,” Stump says, “it is easy to feel we are not meeting them, and this involves a great cost to one’s emotional well-being.” People seek the perfect Christmas of childhood dreams. …[continue reading]