career transition and life coaching for physicians

Low Winter Energy? Do you have SAD?

As February comes to a close, I just realized that 17% of 2014 has already passed. Of the several important projects that I have planned for this year, I have barely begun working on only one of them. The winter months are times of lower energy for me. I get a little seasonal affective disorder (SAD) every winter. Hard to get out of bed at 6 AM, hard to get my body onto my treadmill at least 5 days a week. Putting on a few pounds also from the carb-craving. Sound familiar? This condition is widespread throughout the northern hemisphere and is frequently not recognized clinically.

My life coaching work with doctors has taught me that the winter months require special attention to self-care for many of us. Our bodies react differently to the shorter daylight and the longer nights. If not attended to properly, dysthymia or even significant depression may set in. Experts in this field recommend 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to high-intensity (10,000 lux), broad spectrum light on a daily basis to combat the symptoms. It certainly works for me when I remember to use it!

Regular aerobic exercise is crucial for optimal health, even more so in the winter. Getting lots of sleep, and keeping regular sleep hours (go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning) seems to help also.

Avoid the sweets and other carbs your brain is screaming for, and substitute fresh fruit instead. My motto: two apples a day keeps SAD away. Not entirely true, but it helps me from gaining weight and making matters worse during the dark days of winter.

For those of you interested in learning more about this condition and to explore commercial units for treatment, go to I have one of their units in my home office and use it daily during winter months while I am reading my email. The science of this field can be researched at: (Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms) and at (National Organization for Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Contact Dr. Moskowitz

  Address: Center for Professional & Personal Renewal 555 Bryant Street Suite 160 Palo Alto, CA 94301

  Phone: (650) 329 - 0297

  Web: Center for Professional and Personal Renewal

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