The so-called winter blues can also be referred to as:
- Winter depression
- Feeling the blues
- Seasonal funk
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADS)
These cover a number of symptoms that are related to the seasons. If you have a seasonal component, then it usually begins and ends at the same time every year. Most people have their symptoms start to occur in the fall, continue all winter, then are alleviated in the spring.
Some of the symptoms include the following, but everyone will not experience all of them. Everyone is different. Some individuals may only have a few of the symptoms listed:
- Loss of interest in your daily activities
- Becoming withdrawn
- Sleep issues including:
- Problems getting out of bed or waking up
- Changes in appetite:
- The tendency to overeat
- Carbohydrate craving
- Weight gain
- Problems in concentrating and making decisions
- Decreased sex drive
- Low energy levels
- In some cases, becoming agitated
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
It has been estimated that over 20% of the American population suffers from varying forms of the winter blues.
It is not just humans that are affected, many species actually go into hibernation mode during the winter. It seems to have been an adaptive response in our past. Some feel this adaptation occurred because we had less food and reduced calorie intake, so our bodies change for our survival.
It is said to exist because we have lower levels of serotonin (a hormone that appears to regulate mood), and higher levels of melatonin (hormone from the pineal gland which is produced by changes in light).
These lower levels of serotonin and higher levels of melatonin appear to be light related. People with SADS are said to need 24 times more sunlight than the average person.
If you experience even a mild case of the Winter blues, there is a number of things you can do to make yourself feel better:
- Light therapy:
- Go out in the sunlight
- Tanning beds
- Get a lightbox
- Dawn stimulation
- Negative air ionization
- Vitamin D
- Physical exercise
- Avoid processed foods
If doing the above tips are not helping you, please seek professional help. Even the winter blues, if not dealt with, can become uncontrollable.
If you start to feel like hurting yourself or others, please seek help. There is no stigma in reaching out when you need it. National Suicide Prevention Helpline: (800) 273-8255
If you read this article and want to talk to me about my experiences, feel free to contact me on my Wellness Universe profile.
– Nancy “Samaria”