As summer closes in the North

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How to beat the “winter blues”

By Iraira Butcher, psychologist

Panama offers escape from the winter months.

Panama offers escape from the winter months.

As the year progresses, the warm weather turns colder, days become shorter, nights become longer and millions of people will experience a condition known as the “winter blues.” Winter blues is a mild form of a severe condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Appropriately named, SAD is a mood disorder that is characterized by experiences of depression during the fall and winter seasons and that is directly linked to the decreased exposure to sunlight.

One way to beat the winter blues is by vacationing in a tropical country such as Panama where you can reap the benefits of the natural healing properties of sunlight and tropical foods.

The truth about sunlight

Biologically speaking, the sun affects the production of hormones such as melatonin, which affects sleep; serotonin, which, aside from sleep, affects mood and appetite; vitamin D, which amongst other things, helps with the body’s bone and muscle function; and our circadian rhythm, which is responsible for regulating the body’s functions and processes such as digestion, appetite, heart rate and blood cell production.

Psychologically speaking, sunlight reduces experiences and the effects of conditions such as depression or depression-like symptoms, anxiety, sleep deprivation, insomnia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), lack of motivation and isolation. It encourages and promotes life and living.

The vitamins in fresh fruit

Research shows that specific fruits possess mood-boosting agents that can provide treatment options for individuals who experience the winter blues. Bananas, for example, contain carbohydrates, natural sugar and potassium, all of which enhance brain function. Bananas also contain magnesium, which helps improve sleep and reduces anxiety.

Noni is another fruit that is widely known for its antioxidant properties. It is not until recent years that researchers have considered it to be a useful and natural remedy for the treatment of anxiety and depression.

The psychological boost of a vacation

In addition to these benefits, a vacation can offer a much needed break from the stresses of daily life. Panama is perfect for getting away from it all and for shaking up the routine. An easy destination to get to with so much to see and do, Panama is a choice remedy for beating the winter blues.

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