Winter is coming! No, we’re not talking about zombies. With summer now come and gone, we welcome the flat and gloomy grayness of winter. A period where you might feel dreary and low on energy. “You’ve got the winter blues” grandma would say.
But is there truly such a thing as a “winter depression”?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression related to the change in seasons. From the onset of autumn, people start feeling depressed and permanently tired which lasts until the arrival of summer. A popular belief is that it’s caused by days gradually getting shorter. Less daylight causes less serotonin to be made in the brain, which regulates your mood. It can be treated with light therapy and vitamin D. However, SAD also works the other way around, but less people talk about a “summer depression”.
Studies confirm a correlation between depression and the change of season. Let’s take Iran for example. A country with extreme variations in temperature. Where SAD rates in the north are higher due to cold winters, compared to the warmer south. But other, more recent studies, question the correlation. People in Alaska tend to flee the winter, but SAD rates are still high. Iceland shows relatively low SAD rates, despite their well-known “long winters”. Perhaps it’s because they eat a lot of fish, which is high in Vitamin D.
So researchers are divided, but the internet isn’t. Every month, millions of people search “winter depression”. Which is often mislabeled, like many other conditions. Everybody knows that guy who says he’s got the flu, but in fact just suffers from a common cold. SAD recurs annually, affects your ability to cope with daily life and requires professional help.
So what’s the remedy for a minor Winter Blues, that just affects your mood? Our advice would be: go outside, defy the weather, it will feel refreshing!