|Beat the Winter Blues
Although many of us find relief from scorching summer heat in winters, this is the season of mild to major depression and mood swings for many. This seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which causes low spirits to many people in winters is popularly known as winter blues syndrome. This article will tell you the causes of winter blues and some tips to keep this seasonal depression disorder at bay!
Causes of Winter Blues Syndrome
The main cause of winter blues is hormonal imbalance due to lesser sunlight and low temperatures. Two hormones- serotonin and melatonin- gets out of control resulting into seasonal affective depression. Serotonin is the activity hormone that gives us energy and melatonin is the sleep inducing hormone.
- As serotonin is released in light and daylight diminishes early in winters, the level of this hormone lowers in the body. This also lowers immunity level and makes us prone to cold and flu.
- As far as melatonin hormone is concerned, its level increases- also due to diminishing daylight- and causes feeling of exhaustion and depression which can be there for few days or for the entire winter season.
- Apart from hormonal imbalance, rise in the level of pollution in the atmosphere too causes frequent allergies adding to the winter blues.
How to Beat Winter Blues?
Here are some tips to fight the Seasonal Affective Disorder and beat the winter blues.
Light therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder – Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder is the first and the foremost way to beat winter blues. Expose yourself to light by getting up early in the morning and basking in the sunlight for some time. Those who suffer from major depressive disorder may take light therapy indoors. However, sunlight is always effective than a light box. What it does in three hours, sunlight can do in an hour only.
Food Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder – food high in sugar lifts mood but over indulging yourself in such food may make you overweight. So, eat more carbohydrates and fruits. You can have such foods as brown rice and multi grain bread. Starchy vegetables like potatoes and even corn are good. Have more of citrus fruits like oranges. They are excellent mood lifters. You should also take more of vitamin B in winters. Also increase intake of vitamin C to avoid cold and flu. Do not reduce water intake as people tend to drink water only when they feel thirsty in winters. Drink water before you start feeling thirsty because fluids play an important role in beating winter blues. You can take warm fluids too in the form of herbal tea and vegetable soups to help maintain body temperature.
Exercise for Seasonal Affective Disorder – Do regular exercise for about 45 minutes to an hour. This releases serotonin and help in decreasing depression level. However, take precautions during exercise through temperature management. If you take out your woolen clothes after exercising, this may cause severe joint pain. So always wear clothes in layers and before leaving gym, wear your woolens.
Color Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder – Wear bright colors like red, orange, yellow etc- they help lift your mood. You can even change your home décor a slightly to beat the winter blues by using bright colored paints and bright home furnishings like curtains, cushions, mats etc. They will make you more energetic and help you decrease depression level.
Winter blues or winter depression is usually not severe and do subside when season ends. However, if you see that your seasonal affective depression lasts more than two weeks, you must see your doctor. This is because your doctor can only differentiate between seasonal affective disorder and other types of depression.