Understanding the Winter Blues and How to Beat It

Feeling down and lethargic? Feel physically, mentally and/or spiritually inactive? You may have a case of the winter blues. Medically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the winter blues can have a detrimental effect on your body and mind. To overcome the winter blues, you need to understand what it is and how it affects you.

Winter Blues 101
Winter Blues is a seasonal mood disorder where your body does not acquire enough sunlight. The lack of sunlight causes chemical imbalances in the body, resulting in a reduction in the amount of serotonin in your body.

The average person is awake and energetic during the day but rather relatively lethargic at night, a result of decreased secretion of serotonin, causing your body and mind to slow down. Serotonin is secreted when sunlight hits your eyes. Unfortunately, you don’t get enough sunlight in winter, causing the release of melatonin, thus making you feel both sleepy and depressed.

Moreover, when you bask in the sun’s rays long enough, the rays help produce Vitamin D. The production of this vitamin helps preserve the level of serotonin in your body, causing you to feel happy and alive.

With little sunlight or exposure to light, your brain starts slowing down. Without Vitamin D in your body, the levels of serotonin start to fall – the true combined effect known as the winter blues. The chemical imbalances cause your body to feel sleepy, unhappy and lazy. In fact, people feel the effects of the winter blues even after winter has passed because their bodies become used to the lack of sunlight.

Beating the Winter Blues
Don’t let yourself be affected by the winter blues. Here is a quick look at 3 great ways to beat it!

1 – Get some Sunshine
When the sun shines early in the morning and towards midday, gear up and go outside for a while to absorb some sunshine. It will do wonders to both your skin and mood. Make sure you don’t use sun block as it doesn’t allow you to absorb the full spectrum of needed light.

2 – Go on a Jog with your Mates
Exercise not only helps you lose weight, it helps elevate your mood as well. Research has shown that exercising makes you feel alive and good from within due to the increased sun exposure and elevated energy levels.

3 – Enjoy Life
Another great way to beat the winter blues is to lift your mood by enjoying life. Remember, everyone is different so you need to enjoy, or “fill your tank,” with what you love to do. Whether you enjoy being alone and reading your favourite book, preparing a warm meal for family and friends, or just want to enjoy some fun in the park with your dog, go do it!

Winter Blues, SAD, is caused by the increased secretion of melatonin, reduced secretion of serotonin and the reduced production of Vitamin D. By simply exercising, absorbing enough sunlight and enjoying life, you can easily beat the winter blues. Remember, beat it before the effects are fully visible and it takes longer to recover.