I have been thinking about the winter blues over the past couple of days as the rain comes down. The winter blues is probably something alot of people can relate to and not as sever as Winter Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is not that common, but gets more common the further you live from the equator. It is also more common in women then men. I suspect many people wonder if they have something of this sort as they struggle with the change in seasons and the lessoning of daylight. I love daylight and miss it when it is gone. The nights of winter are much less exciting as everyone moves inside earlier and it gets cold (at least where I live). I miss being able to roam the garden or at least see without a light on and I definitely notice a difference in how I feel. I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as I don’t have most of the symptoms such as, depressed mood, weight gain (winter SAD), oversleeping, loss of interest in activities that used I enjoy, loss of energy, hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating. But, I still find myself feeling a bit less positive, with lower energy and with weight gain (as I imagine most people can relate to).
I do notice that when I step out in the day and get some sunshine and feel the sun’s warmth I feel so much better. At night, I often just feel like going to sleep. So, it doesn’t surprise me that the most recognized treatment is light therapy (light boxes that filter out most UV light). Also, I am always a proponent of exercise for better mental health and I notice that I feel better in the winter when I do exercise, even if not outside.
Interestingly, SAD doesn’t just occur in the winter. There is a summer SAD, with symptoms that differ with insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss. Not surprisingly, the summer SAD is less common.