In winter the days are short. It gets light late and when you go home from work it is already pitch dark. Even during the day one can often hardly speak of brightness. The fog hangs between the houses and lies close to the landscape. During this time, many people fall into tribulation and the so-called winter depression. depression
The winter depression is a seasonally dependent depression and can begin in the autumn months and is often replaced by a slight high mood in spring. This seasonal depression is less common than other forms of depression. Around every fourth person should feel a slight impairment in winter. Distinct disorders affect between 2 and 5%.
The typical symptoms of winter depression are:
Lack of energy
Increased need for sleep
Increased appetite and cravings for sweets
Neglecting social contacts and oneself
In contrast, other forms of depression are associated with loss of appetite, weight loss, and insomnia.
The triggers of winter depression are the reduced light intensity in winter together with shorter days and falling temperature. It is believed that the neurotransmitter serotonin is involved. In months with little light, too little serotonin is released, which leads to winter depression. If the brain lacks serotonin, attempts are made to compensate for the deficiency. Sugar and some ingredients in chocolate help the brain cells to make more serotonin available again. Hence the unbridled desire for sweets.
The relationship between daylight and mood is explained as follows: Due to a nerve connection between the retina and the pineal gland, it notices that there is too little daylight. It reacts with the release of melatonin. This hormone is responsible for maintaining the sleep-wake cycle. The high concentration of melatonin in the brain makes people tired, weak and in a bad mood.
To counteract winter depression, you should actively counteract it at the first signs in autumn, with exercise and light being the best antidepressants. We give you seven tips to protect yourself from a massive drop in mood.
During the day, exercise outdoors in daylight for at least 1 hour. Go out even in bad weather, because even an overcast sky is more bright than any artificial light. Movement gets the psyche and metabolism up to speed. Serotonin levels in the brain rise along with mood. However, a few days in the snow or in the sun by the sea are best.
Anyone who suffers severely from winter depression can undergo light therapy with daylight full-spectrum lamps with an intensity of 2,500 lux. Those affected have to sit in front of this special lamp as early as possible in the morning for at least an hour. In 60 to 70 percent of those affected, a week of light therapy is enough to drive away the winter depression.
Eat a low-calorie diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t overeat, but give yourself a piece of chocolate every now and then. This increases the serotonin level and the mood. St. John’s wort also has an antidepressant effect.
Surround yourself with fresh and vibrant colors that mimic sunlight. Orange, yellow and red tones in pillowcases, tablecloths or in a bouquet of flowers are a caress for the soul.
Fragrances also lighten the mood. Bergamot and jasmine oils evoke memories and images of summer.
If you enjoy dancing and singing, use the brisk music to lift the mood. Every movement is depressive.
Last but not least, the attitude plays an important role. At the beginning of the dark season, don’t let gloomy thoughts arise. Create positive and encouraging thoughts.
Every winter goes by – this one too!