Dealing with the winter blues

The winter blues?! A month from today is Christmas day.

There will be plenty of your friends and colleagues that are already counting down the days. But perhaps for you, this time of year means something completely different.

If you are one of the unlucky few, ‘winter depression’ (otherwise known as Seasonally Adjusted Disorder) starts to take a grip. To try and help, we take a look at a few practical ways in which you can raise your mood and lift your spirits.



Winter blues

Winter blues


How bad have you got the winter blues?

In the past, the idea that the change in climate and daylight hours could have a a very real impact on your mood were slightly derided. But increasingly, with a greater understanding of Seasonally Adjusted Disorder (SAD), the medical world takes the condition a lot more seriously.

Although the exact cause of SAD isn’t known, it is believed that a reduce level of sunlight may have an effect on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This in turn has a knock-on effect for certain hormones including melatonin and serotonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. If you have SAD it is likely to be produced at higher levels. Serotonin can affect a variety of things including sleep, appetite and mood.

And to make things worse, your body has a natural cycle (your circadian rhythm). This can be badly disrupted in the winter months.

Of course, you may not have SAD at all. But here are some symptoms you might want to look out for:

  • a consistently low mood
  • excessive tiredness and wanting to sleep all the time
  • irritability
  • craving carbohydrates or junk foods
  • losing interest in simple pleasures

Either way, there are steps you can take to help you feel better.

Practical ways to lift the winter blues

The first way may sound like the most obvious solution, but it is often overlooked. Find ways to maximise the amount of natural sunlight you get.

If you bus, train or tube into work; practice getting off a stop or two earlier. Hopefully the light will be breaking at this time and you can steal some extra daylight.

Get out at lunchtime. Even if it is only for 20 minutes, even on a grey day you are getting some benefit from natural light. Make an effort to be outside for longer at weekends. Wrap up, and get plenty of fresh air.

It may be a struggle to start with, but try to re-start regular exercise if you have let it slip. Cardio exercise is the best pick me up at this time of year. Look to vary the type of cardio exercises you do to avoid boredom.

And last but not least, book yourself in for some regular massage. Massage has been shown to have a positive effect on levels of three main chemicals in the brain (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) which increasing the feel good chemicals and lowers stress hormones.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us  in Islington and Mill Hill Broadway. If you like this blog, please share!

We are always happy to help.




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