Do you start to feel down, sluggish and carb-hungry as soon as the days are getting shorter?
This time of year, when it’s cold and dark outside, can trigger the winter blues in many people. It’s no wonder the third Monday of January was dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by the travel world to promote trips to exotic destinations.
Seasonal changes, especially a lack of daylight, can disrupt your biological clock. Your internal clock regulates countless of bodily functions, including your sleep-wake cycle, alertness and energy levels, and your mood.
In around 5% of people living in northern latitudes, these changes in circadian rhythm contribute to feelings of depression. These recurring depressive episodes in autumn and winter are called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Just like a ‘regular’ depression, seasonal affective disorder is characterized by a depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interactions and problems with sleeping and appetite. Symptoms like oversleeping and craving carbohydrate-rich foods are characteristic for winter seasonal affective disorder.
According to the American Psychological Association, January and February are the most difficult months for people affected by seasonal affective disorder. If escaping to a tropical island isn’t an option, what can you do to beat the winter blues?
Take a look at these 7 ways to ease your seasonal affective disorder and brighten your mood this winter.
Disclaimer: Always seek help from your doctor, psychologist or other medical professionals when you struggle with severe depression and/or have suicidal thoughts!