How to Beat Winter Blues
Winter blues affects about 10 million Americans each year. Winter depression is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and contributes to greater suicide rates during winter. Research reveals that winter depression is not just caused by lack of light but also by blue light, which affects behavior, body and mind.
Symptoms of SAD
Read on to learn about a few common symptoms of SAD that can help you diagnose if you suffer from this disorder:
You feel a need to sleep in the afternoon. You tend to oversleep, but still wake up tired and unrefreshed. Lethargy is another symptom, and you may lack energy, requiring to put in additional effort in your daily tasks.
These include susceptibility to infections, weight gain, stomach problems and joint pain.
You feel irritable, cranky and constantly sad. You prefer solitude and withdraw from family and friends. You experience feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and guilt about your life.
You lose appetite for sex, crave carbohydrates (bread, sweets, pasta), and are unable to concentrate.
Causes of Winter Blues
Lack of sunlight may force the pineal gland in the brain to secrete more of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. Besides, the body’s biological clock may be disturbed.
Who is Affected?
Women are more affected by winter blues. Most sufferers are in their 30s. The risk of SAD decreases in older people. People who stay indoors a lot, and those working night shifts are more vulnerable. People in Scandinavian nations are especially prone to developing winter blues.
Treatments for Winter Blues
Try out the following treatments to cure your winter blues:
Expose yourself to doses of artificial lighting or natural sunlight. This treatment can alleviate winter blues at the source. But, tanning beds are not recommended as the light contains too much of ultraviolet rays, which can be harmful.
Consume a diet low in fat. Avoid flours, refined sugars and caffeine.
Beneficial herbal remedies include mustard flower essence and St. John’s Wort. Take a daily multivitamin which includes magnesium and vitamin B to alleviate the symptoms.
Take up relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises to get relief from stress and prevent winter blues.
Fresh oxygen is great for you. So, spend about half an hour outdoors each day. Bask in whatever little sunshine is available.