Feeling the winter blues?
Winter brings many disruptions for those who love summer and the heat, for others who prefers to the cooler temperatures, winter brings relief. During our summer months, it is common to find people outside, enjoying the sun, getting a tan, engaging in BBQ's, camping and sports next to water of some kind.
If this is you winter puts to be a downer on everything and it seems like everything just feels grey, you might be suffering from something called 'SAD' (Seasonal Affective Disorder). SAD often presents with symptoms such as feeling low / depressed, feeling demotivated, craving carby foods, appetite and sleeping disruptions.
SAD occurs because of the disruption in melatonin and serotonin levels. Melatonin rises when the sun starts to set and it gets dark. During winter our days get shorter and therefore you might feel tired earlier than normal. It disrupts your sleep/wake cycle and shifts your circadian rhythm. Serotonin helps to regulate our mood; however, with reduced sunlight exposure there is a drop in serotonin which can lead to feeling low or depressed.
Everyone experiences symptoms in varying ways and for some medical intervention may temporarily necessary, speak to your doctor or a counsellor about your symptoms and get professional guidance.
There are some simple ways in which you can alleviate your symptoms and feel better.
- Get outside
Getting outside exposes you to sunlight. Of course if it is raining or cloudy this may seem less than desirable and I am by no means suggesting you go out in the rain. I am suggesting though that you get some direct sunlight or bright light is the next best thing.
- Brighten up your environment
Open the curtains first thing in the morning, every room! This will let in the natural light and give you the brightness that reduces melatonin (makes you feel awake) and increases serotonin (makes you feel more settled and lighter). The bright, natural light helps your body to adjust day and night.
I know I know, everyone says this. The cold weather reduces our temperatures which may cause us to sit under a blanket with a hot chocolate. Moving your body helps to increase your body temperature, increase blood flow and increase neurotransmitters that are responsible for those happy feelings. Serotonin, dopamine and endorphins are released during exercise which ultimately helps to alleviate symptoms of SAD.
- Speak to someone
Having someone to talk to can also help to normalise some of what you're feeling and going through. A counsellor or a doctor can provide guidance on how to improve your symptoms.
GOOD NEWS! Winter is only 3 months (or supposed to be), this will not last forever. Hang in there!
Reach out to me if you need to have a chat.