Winter Depression or Winter Blues: What's this?
  Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Winter depression: Tips against the winter blues

Cold and wet weather, little sun and short days: In the cold year, many people fall into a winter depression or seasonal depression. You can find out what you can do effectively against it in our tips.

Even if the onset of winter is longer in coming from year to year, at some point it will be time to pack the sunglasses. The hours of sunshine are getting less and the days are getting shorter and shorter. This change also has a noticeable effect on our psyche. We leave the house in the dark, we need light in the office and after work it’s dark again.

Winter depression is a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that was scientifically studied for the first time in the 1980s. They are characterized by the fact that we feel bad nearly every year in the dark season. In spring (when the sun hours become more) the symptons just disappear again.

Among other things, this can be due to a disturbed serotonin release, which occurs in particular when we get up and sleep against our internal clock, which is the case, for example, in shift work. But it could also be an already dormant real depression, which suddenly becomes all the more obvious as a result of the – by winter more unfriendly – environment.

How to recognize a winter depression?

That you may be affected by winter depression is indicated by several potential symptoms.

Winterdepression: Feeling tired and sleepy

One of these symptoms is a much greater need for sleep. Despite the fact that you have slept just as long as usual, you are tired and would rather stay in bed all day long.

In general,  winter depression is usually associated with lack of energy and lack of interest. This is often followed by an attempt to improve energy and mood with the help of simple carbohydrates (like sweets or ice-cream).

At the latest when you observe (or your friends tell you) that you are restricting your social contacts because you don’t want to leave the house anymore, you should start doing something about it.

Tips against winter depression

First of all, you should try to get a grip on your problem yourself. There are certainly drugs against it, but they should remain the last option.

One possibility are e.g. so-called light therapies to stimulate the serotonin balance. A visit to the solarium can also work wonders here. If you don’t have it with the artificial tan, you can alternatively fall back on vitamin preparations or therapeutic baths from the pharmacy or drugstore.

Moody music has also proven very helpful. In any case – and not only in the cold season – try to avoid giving yourself too much melancholy music. It affects our mood subconsciously and should therefore generally be avoided. Treat yourself to music that is fun, makes you laugh or gets you in a party mood. You will find that it will be difficult for you to slide into depression.

Sport against the winter blues

Actually, of course, but we can’t say it enough: Pay attention to the thoughts that haunt your head. If you find yourself thinking about negative things or even starting to get into a bad mood, make sure you are quickly distracting yourself with something. Meet up with friends, watch a funny movie, listen to party hits or do sports. But in no case get further into your mood.

If all else fails, you can try something sweet for once. Sugar boosts serotonin production and can at least temporarily make you feel a little better. So always have a bar of emergency chocolate, as I call it, ready.

If you can’t get out of your hole on your own, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. If possible, however, make sure to prefer talk therapy with a therapist to drug treatment with antidepressants.

In a nutshell

With the onset of the cold season and the resulting fewer hours of sunshine, many of us experience winter depression. Not only in morning when getting up we lack the energy, even over the day we’re tired and in a bad mood.

Other symptoms may be an increased craving for simple carbs or limiting our social contacts because we’d rather stay home. Helpful against winter depression can be our friends, light therapies, vitamin supplements or music. Nevertheless, if the symptoms persist for a long time, we should talk to our doctor.