Do you feel a drop in energy and/or find that your mood is more fragile? You may be suffering from seasonal depression or commonly known as the winter blues.
Many Canadians are affected by the reduced sunlight hours accompanying winter and suffer from seasonal depression. Some leave for sunnier destinations, but most of us stay home and have a hard time living through this grey period.
The exact causes of seasonal depression are still unknown. Still, lack of light intensity and reduced exposure to natural light during the winter seem to be the most likely and most important.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms of seasonal depression appear especially in late fall and persist until spring arrives every year. The diagnosis is made when you have suffered these symptoms for at least two consecutive years.
Similar to depression, they affect the quality of life of those affected. The symptoms of seasonal depression include:
- Depressed mood present throughout the day;
- Loss of interest in activities that we usually enjoy;
- Fatigue, lack of energy;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Weight loss or gain;
How to prevent symptoms and treat seasonal depression
- Eat a healthy diet. It's hard to be at your best if you're not providing your body with the nutrients it needs to stay energized and strong.
- Get moving. Physical activity produces endorphins and neurotransmitters associated with a sense of well-being and pleasure. Outdoor activities also oxygenate your body and expose you to sunlight.
- Get outside often and dress warmly. Indoor lighting does poorly reproducing the sun's light spectrum and is much less beneficial. Take advantage of sunny days to get outside!
- Expose yourself to sunlight... inside your home! Let the sunshine in as often as possible (open the curtains wide), and sit near a window to do your hobbies.
- Get a light therapy lamp. This is the preferred option for people with winter blues or seasonal depression
- Consult a healthcare professional if you think you are suffering from seasonal depression or the effects of lack of light. They will be able to tell you about the different solutions available.