What helps seasonal depression

Overcoming low mood: 10 tips against winter blues

It's cold, it's gray, most of the day it's dark - many people feel overwhelmed by winter. MY VITALITY tells you what you can do about the annual low mood.

Imbalance, listlessness, tiredness, cravings for sweets - The symptoms of winter depression are known to many. Every third German suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. This was the result of a survey by the Techniker Gesundheitskasse. For some, the winter blues affect their mood in such a way that their quality of life is significantly impaired.

The lack of light during the autumn and winter days is to blame for the annual low mood. Because only under the influence of light does the body increasingly produce the so-called happiness hormones (endorphins). The mood-enhancing messenger substance serotonin is then released to an increased extent. In contrast, when there is insufficient light, the body produces more of the messenger substance melatonin. This tends to make you limp and tired because it is responsible for the sleep-wake rhythm.

Relic from the Stone Age

It is actually natural for the body to switch to the back burner in winter. This mechanism is a holdover from the history of mankind. In the Stone Age, it was vital to shift down a gear in winter. Since food became scarce in the cold seasons, it was better to be careful with energy resources.

But our current way of life hardly allows such periods of rest. In addition, we spend most of the day - including the short time when it is light - in closed rooms. A lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet do the rest. Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to prevent and combat winter depression.

Ten tips against the winter blues:

1. Fill up with light and air: Even if it's cloudy and rainy, you should still go outside every day. Because even on gray days, natural daylight is three to four times stronger than the lighting in rooms. So use your lunch break for a walk in the open air. So your body can get plenty of light.

2. Exercise - preferably outdoors: Regular exercise prevents cloudy thoughts. Because sport increases psychological well-being through the release of various endogenous happiness hormones and mood enhancers. Nordic walking, jogging, cycling, skiing, but also a visit to a fitness studio can drive away a bad mood or at least improve the mood.

3. Be active: The winter blues can hit everyone. But lonely people in particular run the risk of indulging in gloomy thoughts. So get active and plan your week. Meet friends, do sports, go out or treat yourself to a day of wellness. A busy day leaves little room for a bad mood.

4. Balanced diet: Eat a balanced diet during the winter months. The fact is that people prone to depression consume significantly more sweet or carbohydrate-rich food in winter than in summer. Because carbohydrates are responsible for the production of mood-enhancing serotonin in the body. Basically, however, a low-fat, high-fiber diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat meat, fish, grains and dairy products is recommended.

5. Boost the cycle: Active circulation is also a good remedy for tribulation. So get it going first thing in the morning. Whether with alternating showers, a walk right after breakfast, gymnastics at the open window or a bike tour to the office, the main thing is that you get going.

6. Vacation: If the seasonal depression returns every winter, escaping to the south or a trip into the snow can also work wonders. There you can not only fill up with plenty of light, but also strengthen the general mood with positive holiday feelings.

7. Pampering program: If you are denied a vacation, you should still do something good for your body and soul on a regular basis. Sauna, massage and wellness treatments help develop positive thoughts and relax.

8. Color and fragrance therapy: Bring color into your life and make use of the colors of the warm seasons. Yellow, orange and red shades have a stimulating and invigorating effect. Summer scents such as jasmine, bergamot or citrus oils in an aroma lamp support these positive feelings.

9. Light therapy: If none of this helps, you should try a light treatment. This method has been shown to be particularly effective against winter depression. Check with your doctor or therapist about such therapy.

10. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy can help with regularly recurring seasonal depression. Get professional support if you don't want to let go of the winter blues.

Conclusion: every year it affects every third German: the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter depression. But with light, activity and a healthy diet, you can declare war on the annual low mood.

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