Mar 1, 2010

Soule Restaurant: Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) or Winter Blues is a depression that correlates with the winter season. It is caused by chemical changes in the brain due to lack of sunlight, or a “phase shift” of the circadian rhythm.

Signs of S.A.D. can include excessive sleep, weight gain, irritability, an increase in conflicts with others, loss of energy, poor concentration and indecisiveness, and even thoughts of death or suicide.

Although medical treatment is available for S.A.D., there are ways to self-treat that are safe and easily implemented.

 Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day; particularly during the brightest part of the day

 Increase indoor lighting

 Plan activities during the winter months that you enjoy

 Take a short vacation to a sunny state

 Bright-Light therapy

Bright-light therapy, using UV-ray screened light from a special light box, has proven to be quite effective; more so when the problem stems from melatonin. The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin in response to darkness, making us sleepy. Animals create more melatonin during the winter months, and it was recently discovered by the National Institute of Mental Health, that many who suffer from S.A.D. have an increase in melatonin production during the winter months as well.

Another activity that has proven to be very effective in reversing the signs of S.A.D. is regular attendance of Soule’s weekly Spoken Word Open Mic events. Patrons are welcomed with complimentary warm corn muffins with an irresistible pineapple-apricot sauce and sweet peppermint tea. A delicious Caribbean-Soul food dinner while listening to the creative vibe of local poets and singers has a tremendous impact on the body’s release of endorphins, effectively combating S.A.D.

Okay, the Soule-Open-Mic-Endorphin-Effect hasn’t actually been proven, but try it! It’s a warm, comforting environment that’s immune to the ravages of winter.
See you soon!

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