Do you associate winter months with a never-ending thirst to go into hibernation and come out only when the daylight hours are longer like they used to be? Do you feel that the winter season, even though it comes bearing the tag of the “festival season,” is the most dreadful season to put up with? If you do, unfortunately, associate winter season with misery, there could be a possibility that you’re suffering from the big SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is often known as “winter depression.” The causes of this are uncertain, although they are likely to be complicated and varied. Most of the symptoms of seasonal depression include signs of depression, such as:
- Low energy
- Feeling cranky, getting mood swings
- Facing trouble while concentrating
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
People with SAD have trouble regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to be crucial for mood regulation. Reduced sunshine levels are associated with a drop in serotonin activity, which has been linked to depression. The absence of direct sunshine in the winter is also connected to lower levels of serotonin, since the body produces less vitamin D, which is known to boost serotonin action. Needless to say, winter depression is much more common in areas away from the equator, since they receive the least amount of sunlight during this season. However, it’s also likely that certain people are more susceptible to SAD due to their DNA, as some cases seem to run in families.
SAD can be effectively treated with light therapy, antidepressant drugs, talk therapy, or a combination of these treatments. While symptoms may resolve on their own when the seasons change, therapy can help symptoms improve more rapidly.
However, if you plan on lifting your spirits on your own by taking small steps each day, here are a few things that might help you get out of the funk:
PRIORITIZE MENTAL HEALTH
The first and the foremost step anybody needs to take in order to get themselves in a safe and comfortable space is prioritizing their mental health above everything else. Taking care of your mental health can mean different things to different people – be it taking a break from academics for a couple of days and catching up on sleep, or indulging in self-care and spending more time doing things that make you happy. Whatever it may be, if it makes you happy, you should definitely invest more time in it.
OUTDOORS ARE GOOD, EVEN DURING WINTERS
Sure, you loathe this season and it brings you misery but even spending as little as 15 minutes under the sky can actually brighten up your mood! Regardless of whether the day is sunny or cloudy, try to step outside or take a small walk in a park because daylight and greenery count, be it summers or winters!
People, all the time, advise other people who are suffering from depression to join a gym and get active and, of course, it has turned into a sort of cliché at this point but guess what? Exercising does help! Not only does exercising release endorphins in your body but sweating it out in the gym or in a park while jogging also boosts your energy level and can do wonders for your mood. And if you still don’t feel like stepping outside or going to a place that will force you to come into contact with other people, just blast a dance playlist in your bedroom and get moving!
Lastly, getting help is always an option that can be considered. The big winter SAD does not need to be as scary as it may sound; there is always a shining light at the end of the tunnel.