Winter depression or winter blues is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); a mood disorder in which people experience depressive symptoms, while having normal mental health throughout most of the year.
Body & Mind: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, lack of energy, nausea, depression; pessimistic feelings of hopelessness
Sleeping patterns: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep
Eating habits: over eating, specific cravings, weight gain, decreased appetite, weight loss
Social interaction: withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities, decreased sex drive
Daily tasks: difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, constant overwhelm
Bright light therapy is a common treatment for seasonal affective disorder, but there is more that might be beneficial…
Surrounding yourself with happy people can increase your own happiness. Studies have shown that happiness is contagious – similar like seeing someone yawn 😉
Deep meaningful conversations in comparison to small talk can increase happiness too, as a study conducted by the University of Arizona shows. So spending quality time with your family members and friends can increase your happiness dramatically.
According to many experts, smiling may not only be an outward manifestation of a happy feeling. It may actually be able to cause a happy feeling.
Hope, pleasure, spirituality, gratitude and charity may also be adding to your happiness.
Here are three strategies that might help you to increase your happiness further;
Slow down, appreciate and observe what is around you. It allows you not to worry so much about the future and to remain more involved in the present.
It also encourages not overscheduling yourself, completing tasks at an appropriate pace and spacing out tasks so that you can better reflect and decrease stress in your life.
Exercising lowers the body’s levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress and also causes the pituitary gland to release mood-boosting endorphins.
It does not have to be an intensive gym workout, regular walks or runs outside in your local park can be even better, because you catch the natural sunlight, which your body needs to produce Vitamin D. And did you know that studies have found that people who are exposed to nature become ill less frequently too? Win-Win!
Pets can lessen loneliness and keep you busy. Their unconditional love is a factor that many people find most loveable about their cat or dog. But, you do not necessarily have to have your own pet; you could volunteer to help in your local animal shelter instead.
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*If you feel any of the following symptoms, please speak to your General Practitioner (GP) or Medical Doctor