How to overcome winter depression, the condition that disrupts the circadian rhythm

Also known as “winter blues(winter sadness), winter depression is a seasonal condition caused by the lack of sunny days and cold weather. The emotional development counselor teaches us how to overcome negative feelings.

How to beat the winter blues – Photo Shutterstock

Sadness comes in late fall and winter, when the days are short and the nights long. This can disrupt the circadian rhythm inside our bodies, which regulates many processes in the body and is influenced by the night-day cycle, CNN reports.

According to circadian rhythm expert Joseph Takahashi, professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, disrupted circadian responses can affect brain regions involved in mood, as well as cause fatigue and low energy from lack of sleep. .

On the other hand, Kristina Sowar, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, distinguishes between what is often called “the sadness of winter” and seasonal affective disorder. She points out that the difference between seasonal affective disorder and other depressive disorders is that the former is triggered by the change of seasons.

Seasonal affective disorder is a formal disorder in our psychiatric diagnostic manual and indeed reflects a depth of substantial impact on mood, energy, and general depressive symptoms that are associated with the change of seasons.“, the doctor explains.

Winter depression is accompanied by symptoms such as lack of concentration, attention, change in appetite, but also mood and motivation are transformed. Furthermore, seasonal affective disorder can include behaviors similar to “hibernation”, such as oversleeping, overeating and social isolation, according to experts cited by “Forbes”.

Because people stay indoors more, they may also have less vitamin D absorption, and some studies associate this with feelings of anxiety and depression. However, only in some cases “winter blues”, which is a fairly common condition and resolves itself within a few months, can turn into seasonal affective disorder, a more severe type of depression. According to a study by the University of California, women are four times more prone to seasonal affective disorder.

Tips for overcoming the winter blues

Counselor in emotional development Mirela Husaru offered for “truth” some tips to get rid of seasonal depression: “We can try to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the day. Open the curtains and allow natural light to enter your home or workplace“.

Getting enough sleep at night can also help, avoiding using the phone before bed, but also gradually reducing the light as we approach bedtime are recommended.

Walking outdoors is another activity that can improve our mood. Exercise stimulates the production of chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, which help us feel better and cope better with stress.

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains can also help us maintain chemical balance in the brain and increase energy. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood by releasing endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, such as walking, running or yoga. Don't put pressure on yourself. Any kind of movement is beneficial for the body and spirit”, mentions Mirela Husaru.

And socializing is important, given that friendships and time spent in the company of other people play a major role in maintaining mental health. Connecting with other people, even on the phone or through social media, has a positive effect on well-being.

Try to maintain your connections with friends and family and spend time in enjoyable activities with people who support and understand you. Everything is easier together. Don't hesitate to share your feelings and emotions with friends and family“, urges the emotional development coach.

Enjoyable activities and hobbies can also help us forget sad thoughts.

We can try to see winter as a time to be patient with ourselves, to give ourselves space to rest, to make plans, to gain fresh strength for spring.”, concluded Mirela Husaru, counselor in emotional development.

What makes us depressed in winter

Factors that can lead to winter depression:

– Reduction of natural light and sunlight

– Social isolation

– More time spent at home due to low temperatures

– Remembering absent friends and loved ones.