Does Winter Make You SAD? You’re Not Alone

Kids Depressed Illustration

Does Winter Make You SAD? You’re Not Alone

The Winter Blues

Many people today believe that the “winter blues” is just a myth but this may not be the case according to recent scientific studies. There is plenty of evidence that supports the idea that the winter season can affect our moods and make us feel more down than other months.

One theory that scientists believe is that the way that a person’s body responds to daylight is related to why people feel more down in the winter months. The theory is that light entering the eyes can cause a change in hormone levels and reduce the levels of melatonin (a hormone that makes you feel tired and aids with sleep) helping to wake you up. 

Because it is darker for longer in winter it is thought that people produce more melatonin which causes them to feel tired throughout the day and can, in some cases, bring about symptoms of depression. If you feel as if you are going through the “winter blues”, the less amount of daylight is most likely the key to the problem.

Kids Depressed Illustration

Tips to overcome SAD

One of the ways you can self help yourself throughout wintertime is getting more daylight into your life. For example, try and wake up early so that you don’t miss the daylight and get out in it as much as you possibly can. Here are a couple of other methods that may also help during these times:

  • You should try and eat healthily during the winter as a healthy diet can improve your mood and will give you the nutrients you require. This might be challenging as people may look to foods high in fat, carbohydrates and sugar for comfort when they are feeling down. It is important that you get your five a day and eat food high in nutrients and fibre.
  • You should pair eating healthily with keeping active to reap the most benefit. Even doing just 30 minutes of walking a day in the sunlight can improve your mood tenfold. This is because the activity is believed to change the level of serotonin in the brain, which is a hormone that regulates your mood. On top of this, it can also help by giving you a change of scenery and helping you to meet new people and form new connections. An effective way to beat the “winter blues”, according to the charity Mind, is to take an hour-long walk in the middle of the day.

Things that you should be careful of that may increase your winter depression are:

  • If you’re worried about money and financial issues. Due to Christmas and other holidays, it is no surprise that winter is an expensive time. If you are worried about money issues then you should know that there are plenty of free budgeting and money management apps online that may help you to stay out of financial depression on top of the “winter blues”. These apps allow you to keep track of what you’re spending so you can see where you might need to make improvements and stay on top of things in general. If you stay on top of your spending you may find that you don’t worry about it as much.
Stress Illustration
  • You may be overwhelmed with family obligations. Not everybody gets along, even when it comes to family, so try and spend time with family that is good for you and that you like being around. Doing things such as visiting family who may not be good or nurturing for you may just cause you more stress making this depressing time of year more so. Be aware of the family members that make you feel this way and spend less time with them and more for yourself.
  • You may be feeling lonely. If you have nobody to go to over Christmas, not even family, then you should try and volunteer at local places such as a clinic, homeless shelter or charity shops etc. to give yourself something to do and a way to socialise. Just think, there will be somebody out there who needs help more than you at this time of year.
  • You may be drinking too much alcohol. This might be a hard one for some as everyone loves a drink at Christmas. Just remember that alcohol is a depressant and so can aid depression and slow any progress you have been making to feel better. If you are going to drink make sure you do so in moderation and try and balance it with plenty of daylight walks as well as a healthy diet.

If you find that these methods aren’t working for you and things are getting bad make sure that you contact your GP or any other medical specialists and seek professional help.

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