The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The temperature reduces to zero and there is barely any sun. The thought of it might make you feel a little depressed. However you are not the only one who feels this way, there is even a name for it: seasonal affective disorder. A depression occurring in the winter time and disappearing when the days get longer again. Are you sensitive to seasonal changes? Keep on reading.

Symptoms
There is a difference between the winter blues and a winter-depression. The winter blues is quite normal, nothing to worry about. A winter depression feels like a normal depression, characterized by a loss of interest, feeling dull, feeling hopeless, concentration problems and lifestyle changes. It is called a winter-depression when you experience depressive complaints during the wintertime for longer than two years.

Light
The main cause of the winter blues or depression is the lack of light. It gets darker outside, which disturbs your body clock. Turn on the lights and go outside while the sun is still up. Already suffering from a winter-depression? Then light therapy might work. Research shows that 80 percent of the people experience less complaints after light therapy (PsyQ, n.b.).

Go outside!
It is cold outside and you probably prefer to stay underneath your blanket for the whole day. Do not! Go outside between 11AM and 3PM, to catch some sunbeams. This will help even without the blazing sun. You need sunlight to get to your daily dose of vitamin D. That is important during the winter, because a shortage hereof can cause a lack of energy.

Sports
Going to the gym during the wintertime might be even harder than normal. But do not give in! Working out has a positive effect on your mood (link artikel). And you do not even have to train hard, yoga does the job too. Research has shown that students practicing yoga experience less anger, depression, confusion and tension (Nets & Lidor, 2003). So find a sport which fits you and go for it!

Too much sleep
It gets darker earlier, so you will fall asleep earlier. Next to that, it gets light later, which makes it harder to wake up. The reason for this is melatonin, a hormone which activates when it is dark outside and which makes you feel sleepy. However, too much sleep can worsen a depression. Having structure is important when you suffer from a depression, so do not forget to set your alarm clock.

Eat healthy
Cookies, cake and chocolate. Yummy, but risky when you are not feeling well. Your brains perceive sugar as a reward and it will give you a false sense of satisfaction. As a result you will want to eat more and you will eventually overeat. This might make you feel even worse.

Socialize
When you do not feel well, you probably do not feel like having people around you. However, when you talk to someone about it, it can make you feel better. Not only can social interaction make you feel better, also the quality of social interaction matters. Surround yourself with people who give you a positive feeling and make time for them.

Share this post! If this post was insightful for you, share it with your loved ones so that they can better understand what you are going through.
Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.

Sanne Kwakkelstein

Lifestyle Coach. Helps you get the best out of your body. Loves to travel, to cook and husky’s.

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