As we head towards winter and the days start getting shorter, many people find themselves feeling sad. You might feel melancholic or get into a slump after the fun and festivities of summer are over. If so, you’re not alone and there are a few things you can do about it.
Researchers around the world have been studying the “winter blues” and the more serious type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) over the past few decades. While a lot is still unknown about these winter-related ailments, there a treatments around that appear to help most people.
Winter Blues and SAD
Winter blues is more of a general term rather than a medical diagnosis. It’s quite common and fairly mild. It’s often linked to something specific, such as absent loved ones or dullness following a series of exciting events, and usually clears up in a short amount of time.
SAD on the other hand is different. It’s a serious and well-defined clinical diagnosis that is specifically related to the shortening of daylight hours. It impacts daily functioning over a significant period of time and tends to follow a regular pattern, meaning it appears each winter and disappears during spring and summer. The condition is more common the further you get away from the equator as winter days last longer.
Ways to Beat Winter Blues and SAD
There are a few ways you can beat the winter blues, including:
- Making your environment brighter – Light therapy is usually the first line of treatment for SAD. Studies indicate sitting next to artificial light (a light box) can be as effective as antidepressant medication.
- Keep active – Exercise is a helpful way to cope with the winter blues and getting outside is also good for reducing feelings of stress and gloominess. Aim for a daily 35-60 minute walk in the middle of the day.
- Eat right – A healthy diet improves your mood, gives you more energy and prevents you putting on weight over winter. Ensure you balance your cravings for carbohydrates with fruit and vegetables.
- Socialise – Socialising is great for you mental health and a good way to keep your mind off the blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family and accept invitations for social events, even if you only go for a short time.
- Keep warm – An obvious one but important. Being cold makes you more depressed. Ensure you have a quality heating system, wear warm clothes and keep warm with hot drinks and hot food.
If you think you might have SAD, it’s a good idea to visit a medical professional and discuss the problem if it’s having a severe impact on your daily life and ability to function.
Need Quality Heating in Auckland?
If you’re looking for a new heating system to help you beat the winter blues, get in touch with the team at Albany Heat Pumps. We can recommend an ideal heat pump system as well as providing installation, servicing and maintenance services. Contact us online today for more information.