Winter Depression: How Do You Know If You Have It?

Winter depression may be a mystery to some people,  but not to you! If it seems like you find yourself descended into the depths of the blahs every winter, you’re likely dealing with winter depression?

No energy or particular desire do anything but sleep and eat until spring time could mean you are enduring seasonal depression?  You are clinically diagnosed with SAD, or Seasonal Afffective Disorder, when this extremely lowered mood comes winter after winter, and dissipates as spring blossoms.

How Does Winter Blues Feel?

  • A lasting and significant downturn of mood that seems to have no end
  • Irritability
  • Loss of energy, fatigue, and general sense of boredom
  • Lack of interest in being around familiar people
  • Craving carbohydrates, leading to overeating and weight gain
  • Too much sleep, can’t wake up or stay awake
  • Loss of sex drive

Why Do I Get Depressed In The Winter?

SAD seems to cause an imbalance of biochemicals caused by the daylight hours shortening in the winter.  As the daylight hours shorten and gray skys become more prevalent, lack of sunlight affects your moods.

Your mood is directly affected by the amount of sunlight, melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D in your life.

  • Melatonin decreases with light
  • Serotonin increases with light
  • Vitamin D helps to maintain serotonin levels during the winter
  • Sunlight helps with the production of cholecalciferol which is transformed by your body into Vitamin D
  • Circadian Rhythm: This is responsible for our “internal clock” that lets us know when we need to sleep and wake up each day. This can get disrupted when the levels of sunlight we get every day change.

There is no one cause, but there are known factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing seasonal depression.

How To Prevent Winter Depression?

  • Get more light
  • Exercise regularly with a regular routine
  • Set regular sleep routines and stick to them (sticking to a regular sleep routine will help train your brain and body to sleep)
  • Eat only healthy foods
  • Do something you know is fun and you enjoy

Because decreased sunlight is at the root of the problem many people find relief with using broad spectrum lighting in their homes and using Light Therapy.

Light therapy could be your answer and is quite effective for many people as they add it to regular exercise, and healthy eating.

We all talk about having the “winter blues” as if it’s something we can merely brush off, but getting depressed in the winter is real for people with this very real disorder.

Don’t take your own winter depression lightly, and do follow the tips I listed above to elevate your mood and keep you going.

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