As the leaves begin to fall and the days get shorter, many of us begin to feel tired and irritable all the time – these are the most common symptoms of seasonal depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD ). Shorter, darker days, with little exposure to sunlight, have a significant impact on our mood. If you find that your depression follows the course of the seasons, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can also occur in the spring and summer. But if you find yourself sleeping more and unable to get out of bed when it’s still dark outside, you may be suffering from winter blues ( S-SAD) – a particular type of SAD disorder. Although often referred to generically as “seasonal depression”, it is important to understand what exactly you suffer from in order to find the best remedy.
Data in hand:
About 6% of people in the United States suffer from SAD, while more than double (about 14%) suffer from it in a milder form, such as winter blues or S-SAD. ( 1 ) In German-speaking countries, 2.5% of the population suffers from SAD. The risk of seasonal depression is higher among people living in the northern regions, women and young people. ( 2 ) Recent studies and surveys show that the Covid-19 pandemic has a severe negative impact on the mental health of people around the world ( 3, 4, 5 ) – a figure that could increase the prevalence of seasonal depression this year.
SEASONAL DEPRESSION OR WINTER BLUES?
If you feel sluggish, irritable, or depressed during the coldest and darkest months of the year, know that you are in good company. Insufficient exposure to sunlight triggers these sensations.
CAUSES OF SEASONAL DEPRESSION
The days get shorter, the intensity of sunlight decreases, and your mood gets worse. Because? Light affects your body’s hormone production. Simply put, when light hits your retina, your body produces more serotonin, the happiness hormone, and blocks the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. The downside is that when you are less exposed to sunlight, in autumn and winter, melatonin is produced in greater quantities, and you just want to stay under the covers. Also, the lack of serotonin ruins your mood.
SYMPTOMS: SEASONAL DEPRESSION VS. WINTER BLUES
It is important to distinguish seasonal depression, or SAD, from winter blues, or S-SAD. The remedies vary according to the symptoms and their persistence.
Typical symptoms of seasonal depression:
- Persistent fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite, cravings
- Sociability reduced to a minimum
These symptoms last longer with seasonal depression, sometimes for weeks or months. If you are going through this type of phase, talk to your doctor right away or follow KissAnime advice.
The symptoms of the winter blues are less acute and only happen intermittently, perhaps for a few days. The good news is, you can fight the winter blues. We have prepared a list of simple tips and natural remedies for a bad mood.
FIGHTING A BAD MOOD: 6 REMEDIES FOR THE WINTER BLUES
1.LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE WITH A SAD LAMP
Light therapy has the best success rate in curing the winter blues. Doctors prescribe it to combat seasonal depression. SAD lamps are used in light therapy; depending on the intensity of the light, the exposure sessions should last from 30 to 90 minutes. ( 6 ) These lamps literally light up your mood.
2.GET GOING (OUTDOORS)
Stimulate circulation with a simple (and free!) Activity: fresh air and physical activity. A walk or run outdoors can do wonders – the light of the sun triggers the release of serotonin in your body and prevents a lack of vitamin D.
3.DRINK ENOUGH WATER
In the summer, we all pay attention to staying hydrated. But even when it starts to get colder, you need to take in enough fluids: if you drink too little, your metabolism slows down and fatigue occurs. Also, when you start turning on the heaters in closed spaces, the skin dries out more than in summer. This is already reason enough to drink a little more water – your body will be grateful for it.
4.FIND YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
Shorter days in the fall and winter can affect your circadian rhythm. Try to find a healthy lifestyle where you sleep between seven and nine hours every night. If you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, try these tips to become a more morning person.
5.SWITCH TO A FALL DIET
If you want to keep fit and healthy, it is important to adapt your diet to the changing seasons. In the fall and winter, focus on meals rich in vitamins that strengthen your immune system, and eat foods that put you in a good mood. The latter can be eggs, pumpkin, horseradish, wild fish (salmon, herring, trout), and mushrooms.
6.LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC
Music is another great way to improve your mood and therefore is a great antidote to the winter blues. Studies have shown that music can have a positive effect on your mental health and stimulate the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone. It can even temporarily reduce – or completely eliminate – the symptoms of depression. ( 7 )