The cold and short winter days might take a toll on your mental well-being. It’s not uncommon to feel anxious and gloomy when winter kicks in. This article explains how to identify winter blues and cure it before it affects the quality of your life.
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
You might have experienced mood shifts at some point in the cold season. You may feel more sluggish than usual, but winter blues shouldn’t affect the quality of your life.
Chances are, you have winter depression if the cold weather destroys your relationships and steals the will to live. There are many winter depression symptoms, but first things first, what is winter depression? As the name suggests, this form of depression starts during early winter or late fall.
Winter depression patients may experience anxiety, fatigue, and concentration problems. Other signs of winter depression include gaining weight as a result of carbohydrate cravings.
There are several explanations for why depression is worse in winter. For starters, cold weather lowers your energy levels, affecting your motivation to work. Here’s how to recover from winter blues depression.
#1 Stay Connected
According to a past study by The Lancet, isolation presents long-lasting psychological effects such as depression and PTSD. You can socialize during winter in several ways. For starters, keep in touch with family. You can cook and eat together, hold game nights, work on art projects, and invite other families over.
If your family lives far away, talk to them regularly through texts and calls. You can also strengthen your friendships by going out for coffee, taking walks, and visiting skating rinks. Another way to beat winter blues is by making new friends. You could volunteer, attend community events, and take a class. You can also find companionship in a romantic partner. Since you’re not meeting people at outdoor parties, you can find love on the best dating sites.
#2 Beat Winter Depression With Exercise
Exercise plays several roles in winter depression treatment. First off, it elevates your mood by triggering endorphins. Physical activity also boosts the immune system to fight winter infections like colds and flu.
You can also work out to break bad habits. Instead of fighting stress with alcohol and excess food, training prevents idleness and gives you purpose. Additionally, you shed the extra winter pounds and stay in shape long after the cold season.
Gyms aren’t the only way to keep fit during the winter. You could walk to the store instead of driving and change elevators to stairs. You can increase the workout intensity by climbing several steps at a go and sprinting up the stairs.
Another option is dancing and doing yoga. Feel free to get a workout partner. In addition to keeping you accountable, exercise buddies offer moral support and distraction from your winter blues.
#3 Eat Healthily
Besides weight regulation, eating healthy during winter prevents numerous diseases. Food also controls norepinephrine and dopamine production to determine your mood, concentration, and motivation.
The first nutrient to beat winter depression is folate, a natural B vitamin that accelerates the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. According to past research, folate levels are lower in individuals with depression. You can find folate in lentils and leafy veggies like kale, broccoli, and spinach.
Fibrous foods like oats, raspberries, and quinoa are also effective against winter depression syndrome. Per a recent Nutrition Reviews study, high-fiber foods soothe inflammation to alter neurotransmitter concentrations and reduce depression symptoms.
Not forgetting omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the brain’s inflammatory markers to treat mood disorders. You can find this nutrient in walnuts, hemp, flax, and chia seeds.
#4 Go Outside
Staying indoors during winter can increase loneliness even if you live with other people. Serotonin is lowest in the brain during winter. Natural daylight increases this hormone to stabilize your mood and alleviate winter blues symptoms.
Going outside also improves memory. According to a past Michigan University study, walking in the park during any season can boost your attention and memory.
You also get the chance to be mindful when you walk outside. Notice how your arms and legs feel with every step. What’s more, engage all your senses when walking outside to cure winter depression.
Besides noticing scents and aromas, pay attention to what you see. You can also note how the air feels, the sound of moving cars, and how the snow feels on your skin.
#5 Light Therapy
It involves exposing yourself to artificial light to control circadian rhythms. Past studies consider light therapy a first-line treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
You can use a lightbox for around 30 minutes daily to improve your mood and reduce winter blues symptoms. Lights for winter depression treatment are brighter than regular bulbs.
You can also swap your alarm clock for dawn stimulators. Instead of beeping to wake you up, dawn stimulators emit light that becomes brighter gradually. Sitting by the fire is also therapeutic.
Besides warming your hands, you get a chance to organize your thoughts when you look at the embers. You don’t have to light a bonfire to treat depression. You can enjoy your solitude by lighting candles at home.
#6 Fix Your Sleep Pattern
Depression causes different sleep disturbances. Winter depression patients may sleep too much or experience difficulties falling and staying asleep.
Apart from increasing your chances of developing depression, sleep issues raise the possibility of relapse after successfully treating winter depression. The first step of treating this depression is maintaining regular sleep schedules. By doing so, your body prepares itself for rest as bedtime nears.
Additionally, limit your daytime naps to 20 minutes. Although power naps increase your concentration, sleeping too much during the day makes it harder to sleep at night.
This goes together with avoiding alcohol. You might be tempted to have a drink to relax, but even moderate drinking might shorten REM sleep.
Again, maintain a quiet bedroom environment. In addition to switching off your computer, radio, and television, you can absorb floor noises with rugs. You could also reduce sounds from outside by closing your windows and installing curtains.
Conclusion: Get Professional Help
Although it’s normal to feel low during the winter, see a doctor if you’re unable to cope and the sadness lasts for several days. The doctor might ask about your lifestyle, eating, and sleeping patterns. How do you treat wintertime depression? Share your winter depression remedies in the comments.