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A simple stroll in the sun can help beat the blues

Dr Terrina Dickson (Stuart MClay)
Dr Terrina Dickson (Stuart MClay)

DOCTORS say people’s moods are notoriously worse in January, after the buzz of Christmas has passed.

Dr Terrina Dickson, of The Edinburgh Clinic, said: “I have seen an increase in people with low mood, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in recent years.

“A combination of things can help.

“Don’t go for walks in the rain, because that would only make you feel worse, but a walk in the winter sunshine has benefits.

“Exercise, primarily, improves mood, as does getting involved with activities, meeting with friends, trying something fresh.

“If someone is showing more serious symptoms then anti-depressants could be prescribed, because it will boost the serotonin level in the brain.

“Some people like to use SAD lamps, where you receive sunlight-like exposure.

“Another thing people can do is have good sleep hygiene. That means not using computers before bed, not staying up late and trying to maintain a good sleep pattern. You would be surprised how much of a difference this makes.

“The rise in awareness of what the media calls January Blues and Blue Monday can have two effects.

“It can focus the minds of people who are struggling and might not realise they have a problem with low mood and they will go to see someone about it.

“But with any rising diagnosis, you will have people who will jump on the bandwagon and take advantage.”