Whether it is due to Blue Monday or the dark winter months … Plenty of people suffer from a dip. Does it affect you too? You are definitely not the only one!
The dark winter months do often have that effect. A lack of natural daylight disrupts our biological clock. There are different degrees ranging from winter dip, also known as winter blues, to even winter depression. A winter dip causes a bad mood due to the dark, short days. This also makes you feel much less like doing anything, you are less active or you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
In contrast, winter depression is a more severe form that lasts for a longer period of time and causes severe limitations in normal functioning. If you suffer from winter depression, it is best to seek professional medical help.
Did you know, by the way, that 1 in 10 people suffer from winter blues and that it is 4 times more common in women than in men? The reason for this is said to be that women have an increased sensitivity to cyclical changes,
seasonal changes and hormones. The short winter days with little sunlight increase the production of the sleep hormone, making you listless, tired and demotivated. Plus, you get more cravings for sweets.
You are reading this correctly: there are a lot of downsides.
Not to worry, Wellbeing works gives you 5 tips to get you out of your slump or even prevent winter blues:
Address the cause.
The reason for your dip is (often) due to too little natural sunlight. Go outside during your lunch break, even though you might be dreading the cold, and take a walk or enjoy the natural light your way for a while. During these months, you leave in the dark in the morning and do not finish work until dusk. Take full advantage of the moments when there is daylight, hopefully with a ray of sunshine, and feel reborn. If you do not have the opportunity to go outside during your lunch break, you can purchase a daylight mimic. There are several on the market and their positive effects have been proven on several occasions.
Pay attention to your food a little anyway.
You are more likely to crave high-fat or sugary foods during the dark months. Besides, we just survived the holidays where that kind of food is plentiful. Try to limit those ‘nutrients’ anyway, they have a negative effect on both your mood and energy levels (both long-term). A varied palette of colours on your plate provides the right nutrients with the vitamins you need to get through these days.
You hear it mentioned often and it seems like something simple, but it really works: thinking positively and being grateful for what you have. Just before you go to sleep, try writing down three reasons you are grateful for that day. The morning after, you wake up with a smile. And you will see, you are much quicker out of bed and motivated to start the day.
Schedule fun times!
During cold, rainy and dark days, you probably want to stay indoors and cosy up in front of the tv. Your social life goes on the back burner because of this. Still, try to plan something fun with friends or family often enough. Socialising is important for your mood and it is always fun to look forward to something.
Maintain a good sleep rhythm.
Maintaining a good sleep rhythm also helps against winter blues. Try to go to sleep and get back up at the same time every day. Getting enough sleep is important. On weekends, of course, it is okay to sleep in longer. Still, try to find a good rhythm and stick to it.