Tips against the winter depression

Wet and cold weather, little sun and short days: The cold season not only affects the mood, but also the performance of many people. We’ll show you what you can do about it.

At the latest, when it is much darker in the morning when getting up, we realize that the warm season is coming to an end and winter is coming. Hours of sunshine are less and the days felt shorter and shorter. Things that also affect our psyche.

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, while symptoms in the spring (when the sun hours become more) 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.

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 notice (or friends tell you) that you are neglecting your social contacts, you should be alert.

What to do about a winter depression?

First of all, you should try to get your problem under control on your own. Sure there are also medicines against it, but they should rather remain your last choice.

One option is light therapy to raise the level of serotonin in your body. For this you can either visit a solarium or get special light therapy lamps for home. Vitamin D supplements can also be a useful choice.

Also, try adjusting your music choices to the situation. Avoid melancholy or sad songs, because they affect you subconsciously and can make things worse. Manipulate yourself and instead listen to music that makes you happy, makes you smile or even makes you want to dance.

In many other articles we’ve already described it, here it’s particularly important again: Pay attention to what you think. When realize that you’re thinking about things that negatively affect your mood, distract yourself. Meet with friends, watch a funny movie or go to the gym. Don’t get into negative thoughts.

If it’s already too late, try (exceptionally) with sweets. Sugar provides a short-term increase in serotonin levels and can therefore help, at least for a certain amount of time. But be careful not to overdo it.

If you realize after several days or a few weeks that you can’t do it on your own, go to your doctor. However, always try to prefer a talk therapy to a drug treatment if possible.

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.

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