BOSTON - Nantasket Beach is supposed to be one of Mary Ellen White's happy places. It's just up the street from her home in Hull. She usually spends her free time on the beach, reading and soaking up the sunshine.
"It's magical. I just love being near the ocean," she told WBZ-TV.
But, on a late September Friday, she looked out at a grey sky, over a grey ocean and sadness crashed down on her like a wave. For Mary Ellen, the change of seasons is always tough. But this one hits different.
"It affects everything. You don't want to go to grocery store you don't want to talk to anybody. You want to crawl in your bed with the covers over your head."
No doubt, as the seasons change your mood can change. You can feel depressed, sluggish, sleep too much and gain weight.
Usually it happens later in the Fall when it gets dark much earlier. That lack of light can put you in a dark place.
But this year, the so-called "winter blues" may already be here because of the rainy weather pattern we have been stuck in.
The gloom started when the 4th of July kicked off a star spangled mess of a month. Boston tripled its average rainfall with ten and a half inches.
In August, Boston had double its average rainfall. In September, there was rain in some part of our area every single weekend.
If you work Monday through Friday the rain meant less time to get outside to do the things you love and that is bad for your mental well-being.
Dr. Sandy Auerbach, a neurologist and associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, says people who usually battle Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD may be feeling it already.
"It's possible for a couple reasons. Number one, with the cloudiest days there is less sunlight exposure. Also, as you already expressed, people are not able to do the things they want to do," he said.
Dr. Auerbach says your body craves light. It keeps us in rhythm and boosts vitamin D. Without light, our circadian rhythm can get thrown out of whack.
"Light plays a big role in our physiology. There are strong pathways that go not just that we need light. We don't just need light to see. There are pathways that go through the retina, the back of the eye, and parts of the brain. "
So how do we beat it? Special light boxes, like the one in Dr. Auerbach's office, mimic sunshine and can help you battle the blues.
There are a couple of other tips to battle season affective disorder: Focus on nutrition, exercise, sleep and, of course, light. Also, keep a "gratitude journal" so you spend time focusing on the positive things in your life.
Lastly, a sunny October, sure would help!
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