Self-Care Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

Self-Care Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

Self-Care Tips for Beating the Winter Blues: During the winter, the shorter days and cooler weather can make many of us feel less inspired and even unhappy with our daily lives. There are people who get the winter blues and people who get seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

People with seasonal affective disorder, a type of major depression that changes with the seasons, have a depressive disease. In other words, it starts in the fall and lasts through the winter, getting better in the spring.

About 5% of people in the US have SAD. Women are four times more likely than guys to have it. Also, people who live in northern states like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and New England are more likely to have seasonal affective disorder.

Anyone of any age can start to have seasonal affective disorder. Most people start it between the ages of 18 and 30.

Seasonal depressive disorder (SAD) signs and symptoms

SAD is not the same as major sadness because it changes with the seasons. SAD usually starts in the fall and lasts through the winter. In the spring, it gets better.

The American Psychiatric Association lists the following signs as a group that people with seasonal affective disorder may experience:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of enjoyment or interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Changes in hunger (usually wanting to eat more and craving sugars and carbs)
  • Changes in sleep (most of the time, sleeping too much)
  • Loss of energy or feeling more tired even after getting enough sleep
  • Thinking, focusing, or making decisions more slowly
  • More activities like pacing, wringing hands, or not being able to sit still, or speech or moves that are slower.
  • Being lost, not good enough, or guilty
  • Having suicidal or death thoughts

People with SAD often gain weight and sleep too much, which is called hypersomnia. Some of the worse symptoms are feeling hopeless, not worth anything, and having suicidal ideas.

Self-Care Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

If you have been identified with SAD, you may need a mix of light therapy, a vitamin D supplement, cognitive behavioral therapy, and maybe even medication.

When you have SAD, it’s important to take care of yourself because it tends to follow a routine. Patients can plan for severe symptoms ahead of time by using prevention methods. You can get ahead of your symptoms if you have seasonal affective disorder by doing the following:

  • Do something every day: go for a walk. This improves your happiness by letting you breathe in fresh air and seeing a new view while you work out.
  • You should eat more vitamin D and make other changes to your diet. A chef or doctor can help you figure out what foods you should cut out or add more of in your diet.
  • Make plans for fun things to do and keep them. You’re more likely to back out of plans and stop them once SAD starts.
  • Spend time with family and friends. By being around other people, this helps your mind and mood.
  • Do something active to move your body. Moving your body will keep it healthy, and it doesn’t have to be hard exercise. If you can join a training class or group, that will help you in both physical and social ways.
  • Talk to the people who can help you. Let your friends and family know how the change of seasons makes you feel so they can check on you. In addition, they can help you keep your promises and be there for you.

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How are the “winter blues” different from SAD?

Having the “winter blues” is a common thing to do during the winter. You can still do things even if you’re sad or want to stay home. Say you decide to stay home instead of going out with friends, but you still want to do the things you normally do, like watch TV or make crafts. You might want to stay inside more and avoid being around other people. You might be able to hang out with friends or coworkers the next day. You still enjoy life, but you might slow down a bit. “Winter blues” could also be caused by something outside of yourself, like a death during the holidays.

Most of the time, people who have seasonal affective disorder lose interest in many parts of their life. When you have SAD, you want to stay home but don’t want to eat or watch your favorite shows. You cut yourself off from life on a worldwide level.

It’s hard to deal with SAD because it gets better in the spring. People might not go to therapy because they think it’s just the “winter blues,” which aren’t as bad and only happen sometimes. As the official diagnosis says, SAD is a major depression with seasonal trends. It’s not just the “winter blues.”

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