With the increase of darker and cloudy days, our contact with the sun's rays decreased. As the weather got colder and the days were getting shorter, we started to feel reluctant and unhappy. Known as the 'winter depression' or 'winter blues', this situation usually begins in November and can continue until the end of the winter season. Istanbul Bilgi University Psychological Counseling Center Director and Psychology Department Dr. Instructor Member Zeynep Maçkalı made suggestions for people experiencing winter depression.
With the transition from autumn to winter, there are changes in the hormonal order in our body with the decrease in the rays we can get from the sun. Less sunlight causes the hormone serotonin, which affects our mood, appetite and sleep patterns, to be secreted less in our body, which makes us feel more depressed.
Stating that the prevalence of winter depression/sadness, which is said to be seen in almost one in three people, especially in the northern hemisphere, is between 10-15 percent, Istanbul Bilgi University Psychological Counseling Center Director and Psychology Department Dr. Instructor Member Zeynep Maçkalı listed her suggestions for people experiencing winter depression. Mackali; “Daylight also has an effect on our internal clock (circadian rhythm), which influences our sleep-wake cycle. In order to keep this rhythm in balance, it is important to try to go to bed and get up at the same time throughout the week, and to observe a similar order in the meal order. In winter depression/sadness, the sadness felt during the winter months and sometimes the state of distress are more evident. Not turning to alcohol in order to cope with feelings such as sadness and malaise is among the things that can be done in order to keep this rhythm in balance. Since alcohol has a depressing effect on the nervous system, we may feel worse for a while after drinking alcohol. In addition, since it reduces the quality of sleep, there may be a need for sleep throughout the day (depending on the amount of alcohol taken) in the days after alcohol consumption. Difficulty falling asleep and a change in sleep patterns can also turn into difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. "While experiencing the winter depression, even if the person feels depressed, the satisfaction felt is important in the process of regaining psychological strength, when he can complete his daily work, even if it is sometimes difficult," he said.
What are the symptoms of the winter depression?
People with winter depression often have trouble falling asleep at night. There may be a change in their appetite, they tend to turn to foods such as chocolate, pasta, and cake that contain intense carbohydrates, and they may experience weight gain. They also talk about feeling tired all the time and having low energy.
Tips for those experiencing winter depression
Istanbul Bilgi University Psychological Counseling Center Director and Psychology Department Dr. Instructor Member Zeynep Maçkalı summarizes the ways of coping with the winter depression as follows:
Most importantly, you should pay attention to your lifestyle. In order to maintain the balance of the circadian rhythm, trying to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, a regular and balanced diet will be the first things that come to mind.
Trying to get as much sunlight as possible, exercising regularly, and creating things to keep you moving throughout the day, such as walking your dog or listening to music and dancing while you do the dishes or wash the dishes, will help you feel better.
Spending time with the people you love and feel comfortable with, or at least trying to do so, will have a positive effect on your mood.
Thinking about the things that are good for you in order to maintain the changes you have made in your life order will also allow you to make different experiments on different days.
It's normal to feel less reluctant and less energetic some days. However, if this situation continues every day for at least two weeks, if the person cannot feel motivated about the activities they normally like to do, and if complaints such as not being able to enjoy life occur at the same time of the year (especially in winter), it would be appropriate to consult a mental health professional.