Do you experience a change in mood during the shorter, gloomier winter days? This is colloquially called the “winter blues.” You might notice that you’re generally more depressed and lethargic during this time of the year.
The winter blues may make you more unhappy than usual, but they usually won’t stop you from having fun. However, if your winter depression begins to impair every aspect of your life, including your job and personal relationships, you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The emergence of SAD, a subtype of significant depression that occurs during the winter when there is less natural light, is indicative of the condition. Many people typically experience symptoms in the fall that last through the winter.
There are some biochemical signs of seasonal affective disorder, yet the precise origins of these periodic mood changes are still unknown.
- Serotonin, a crucial neurotransmitter for regulating mood, becomes unbalanced in the body when it receives little sunlight in the fall.
- Similar to how fewer daylight hours tend to mess with your body clock and sleep schedule. Melatonin, a hormone associated with sleep, is overproduced due to prolonged darkness throughout the day.
- Vitamin D deficiency, which is frequent during the winter months due to less sunlight, may be a cause of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
- Women, teens, and young adults are more likely to experience the seasonal affective disorder, mainly if there is a history of depression in the family.
The following are the main signs of seasonal affective disorder:
- Sleep problems
- Having frequent suicidal thoughts
- Erratic eating patterns, marked by overeating and episodes of loss of appetite
- Craving for carbohydrate-rich foods and consequent weight gain
- Excessive sleeping and drowsiness
- Feeling down and unsociable.
- difficulty paying attention
- Loss of excitement for activities you once enjoyed
- persistent feelings of worthlessness, despair, and regret
If your mood dips in the winter, whether it’s a more severe depression or just the blues, here are some suggestions to lift it back up.
If you are experiencing the “winter blues” or SAD, the sunlight you get in a given week may impact your mood.
One of the main causes of seasonal affective disorder is a persistent lack of sun exposure since it results in hormonal abnormalities that might cause despair.
The body produces melatonin and serotonin, which control the circadian rhythm, in response to sunlight. Melatonin, which is primarily in charge of regulating the circadian rhythm, is affected by light levels. Light directly influences the same neurotransmitters as antidepressants do, so in a way, it functions similarly to those drugs.
Try to get as much sun as you can each day during the winter. Walk outside in the direct sunlight, draw the drapes back, or open the blinds. Try to choose light colors that reflect outside light, even inside your home.
You could try to spend some time by the window while drinking hot tea and reading a book.
The feel-good chemicals in your brain may be released by exercise. Start by parking a block away from the workplace. Or go bigger by enrolling in a dance class or joining a local gym. Making it enjoyable increases your likelihood of sticking with it.
An early morning jog can benefit early risers and provide them with energy for the rest of the day. While the sun is shining, running offers both exercise and light therapy benefits.
Yoga, gentle aerobics, and walking are some activities that improve your mood.
Depression and low vitamin D levels are related. One requirement for the body to produce vitamin D is sunlight, which might result in insufficient quantities in the body.
The risk of seasonal depression may be reduced by taking a vitamin D supplement if you live in a region with little sunlight or have a life that prevents you from getting enough sun exposure.
But before taking supplements, speak with your doctor about the ideal dosage.
4. Spend time with both animals and/or people.
Reach out to connect with others, including people and animals, if you feel alone.
Studies have shown that interacting with people or animals can improve one’s mood. Remain in touch with the people you value. Visit social gatherings. Volunteer in an animal shelter.
Accept social invites, even if you can only stay a short while. Never forget that social interaction fosters a sense of self-worth and community. A pleasant discussion with a kind friend can result in a smile on your face.
Both the body and the mind are successfully relaxed during meditation, which increases the activity of the areas of the brain linked to happiness and decreases the movement of the parts of the brain related to stress.
It has been demonstrated that meditation reduces stress and depressive symptoms while altering brain chemistry.
Regular practice is more significant than extended workouts. Over time, 10 to 15 minutes a day can be beneficial. Start your meditation practice for a short while, then progressively extend it to at least 10 minutes daily.
- Try color therapy to lift your spirits and evoke certain feelings throughout the dark winter months.
- Bold colors and light will add some cheer to your home.
- Finding a new pastime or interest can keep your mind engaged and help prevent the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
- Think positively and maintain an upbeat outlook to chase away the winter blues.
- To drastically raise your mood, listen to uplifting or optimistic music.
- Traveling to a place with a warmer climate and an abundance of sunshine has a significant impact on your physical and emotional health.
- Stick to your usual sleep routine no matter how much you want to sleep until noon.