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Winter Blues: What Is it and How To Avoid It

Have you noticed that from around December to March you sleep more, get new cravings and feel like you have less energy? Most people experience these symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, also called ‘the winter blues’. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. It usually starts around autumn, lasts all through the colder months and impacts our mood and general wellbeing.

How to spot it

During winter, when the days are shorter and the weather in general is not on our side, we all feel a little down. Seasonal affective disorder can manifest in low energy levels, moodiness, difficulty focusing and a loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed. In more severe cases, it can devolve into feelings of hopelessness and general indifference.

Main Symptoms

-Oversleeping

-Appetite changes, especially a craving for carbohydrates

-Tiredness or low energy

How to beat the winter blues

Even though the causes of seasonal affective disorder are still unknown, several studies show that its symptoms are related to the lack of sunlight.

Reduced levels of sunlight can cause our serotonin and melatonin levels to drop, and it can also impact our biological clock. All of these changes can trigger depression.

Up the serotonin

Exercising every day is a great way to keep your serotonin levels stable without the help of the sun. If you can workout outside, even better. It also helps to eat omega-3 rich foods, like avocado, nuts and chia.

More vitamin D

Vitamin D boosts the positive effects of serotonin in our body. Normally, we produce vitamin D naturally when our skin is exposed to the sun. In winter, it’s a good idea to supplement your vitamin D levels with foods like canned tuna and salmon

Light therapy

Like we said, the main issue is a lack of light. So it’s essential that you try to get at least one hour of sunlight a day. Another great option is phototherapy, where you use therapeutic lamps specially designed to substitute natural light.

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