Have you ever found yourself feeling more “down” in the winter time? Are you lacking energy that you usually have during the rest of the year and have no idea what is causing the change? This change during the winter can be known as the Winter Blues, and it affects more people than you may think. But what causes the Winter Blues?, and what can we do to help us during this time? Read on to learn more about managing the Winter Blues.
What Causes the Winter Blues?
As already mentioned, the Winter Blues affects more people than we may think. It typically affects more than three million people each winter. With such a significant number of people experiencing this phenomenon, the question now is, what causes the Winter Blues?
Unfortunately, the answer is that there is really no answer. Many health professionals attribute the lack of energy and mood changes to a lack of Vitamin D from the sun during the winter months. Sunlight isn’t just good for plants, humans also rely on the nutrients that come from the sun. The afternoon sunsets and the late sunrises during the winter cut down the amount of time that the sun is shining and therefore the amount of time that we are able to absorb the essential Vitamin D from the sun.
How Can I Manage the Winter Blues?
If you believe that you have the Winter Blues, the first step is to find ways that you can increase your energy and improve your mood. One way is to spend time outside, or if it is too cold, light therapy can also be helpful. There are many lights and lamps that have been used in light therapy that you can buy to have at home. Many lights can fit right onto your bedside table and you can turn on the light and absorb the mock sunlight while you sleep.
Another way to build your energy and increase serotonin levels is to find time in your day to go out and exercise. Just a short walk around the neighborhood or a swim at an indoor pool can help your body feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. Plus, with all of the treats consumed during the winter holidays, think of exercising as killing two birds with one stone.
If you find that light therapy or exercise are not working for you, try talking to a medical professional and ask them to check your Vitamin D level. During the winter months many people have found taking a Vitamin D supplement to be very helpful in helping to decrease fatigue and having a positive effect on their mood.
When It’s Not Just the Winter Blues
Sometimes the Winter Blues can become more than just the Winter Blues. When a lack of energy and downturn in mood begins to permeate your daily life, that may be a sign that your Winter Blues is actually Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of clinical depression that shows up during the winter months. If that is the case, then Vitamin D, at-home light therapy, and exercise will not do much to alleviate your symptoms.
You should make an appointment with your primary care doctor or a mental health professional to discuss your symptoms and condition. You may need a more aggressive form of light therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressants, or another prescribed remedy. Or, your symptoms could be caused by some other physical or psychological condition. Whichever case it may be, it is critical that you get a correct diagnosis and the help you need.
If you are feeling especially tired or depressed this winter, give us a call. One of our trained therapists can help you determine if it is simply a case of the Winter Blues or if further intervention is needed. You deserve to be able to enjoy every season of the year!