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Dark Winter Blues Depression

I am a bit of a freak… I love the cold and I love the snow…BUT I do not love the concept of daylight savings time. Dark when I leave for work and dark when I come home from work.

This means that my daughter who often suffers from depression on a sunny day now has to deal with the shorter days and the longer nights as well.

Inside More

We are spending less time outside, getting less fresh air, getting less sunshine and doing fewer activities that are often healthier than the ones we do sitting indoors. When we do get outside the trees are a bit less colorful than what greets us in the summer and springtime and fall. That is if they have any leaves at all.

Even our dogs seem a bit down on these short days of winter.

As most of you know by now I have a daughter that deals with depression in all four seasons, but we have noticed that it does often get worse in the winter. There is an actual name for this type of seasonal depression. Read on.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Not everyone who hates the short winter days will actually have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Keep in mind that it’s normal to feel a little bit more down during the cooler darker winter months. But if those seasonal mood changes leave you feeling depressed most of the day nearly every day or preventing you from doing your work and activities, those may be signs of a depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

This is a type of depression known to cause mood changes with the change of seasons.

According to Mayo Clinic some signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

The only way to know for sure that you are dealing with SAD is to go see your doctor if you have symptoms that are interfering with your daily life.

Sunlight Needed (Or a Light Box)

Winter months come with fewer hours of natural light and fewer sunny days overall. Less light affects our mood because our bodies need sunlight to produce vitamin D, which appears to help with functioning of parts of the brain. These parts are the areas of the brain that regulate mood and well-being.

There are now Light Boxes available to help people cope with the lack of sunlight. They make them just for people who suffer with SAD.

Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp is one example of such a lamp. In fact, this one is not only Amazon Choice option but was also featured on my favorite show SHARK TANK:

This product provides the recommended 10,000 LUX brightness for effective light therapy to help beat the winter blues, regulate sleep, fight fatigue, boost mood, and improve focus. Our lamps produce high-quality light with the right qualities – Pure-white color of the noonday sun (5500K), full-spectrum, and free of unwanted UV rays.

Now that is a lot to live up to but the reviews are great.

Benefits of BRIGHT Light Therapy

Maintains a Healthy Sleep-Wake Cycle | Light keeps your internal clock on a healthy 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, helping you feel more awake during the day and to fall asleep better at night.

Improves Mood | Using light to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm can have positive effects on your mood.

Helps Concentration | Daytime exposure to bright light can suppress melatonin levels, decrease sleepiness, increase alertness, and improve performance.

Boosts Energy | Bright light can improve alertness, fight fatigue, and reduce tiredness by stimulating the body’s natural response to light.

Feel free to go check out these Light Therapy Lamps by clicking here…BRIGHT

Vitamin D



Consider taking vitamin D when you turn back your clocks…in our home when we change the clocks back we change the batteries in our smoke detectors AND boost the Vitamin D.


IF you’re feeling particularly sunshine-deprived, consider daily vitamin D supplements, Most health care providers recommend for adults to take one 2,000 IU supplement per day (though it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement).

Amazon sells tons of different types of Vitamins that you can get delivered directly to your front door.

I especially like the OLLY Sunny Vitamin D Gummy.

===>Click HERE for a burst of SUNSHINE<===

Conclusion

Take signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it’s not treated. 

These can include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • School or work problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

I know that my daughter has depression and anxiety on a regular basis, but the winter for us is especially rough.  

Pay attention to the signs and symptoms and seek help if you think this type of Depression is affecting your daily life.

There is help out there.

Keep on fighting the good fight

Tammy

Tammy C

22 Comments

  1. Hello,

         I’d like to thank you for sharing this post.  Too often, I see people make efforts to hide or deflect acknowledging issues that others may view in a negative way.  It’s much nicer to see people share their experiences and help to remove the stigma that may be associated with it.

    Although I don’t suffer from any forms of depression, as far as I know anyway, I have noticed a less-energetic down feeling in the colder, darker winter months, both in myself and in others around me.  I can only imagine that it’s much more pronounced for those that do suffer from an officially diagnosed condition.

    It never occurred to me that a light might help to reduce the effects.  It makes sense, just never thought of it.

    Now that I think of it, I may need to look at some of these symptoms a bit closer.  One of my friends, who tends to be a bit withdrawn, exhibits several of these traits.

    Thanks again,

    Scott

    • Hello Scott 

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I am  huge fan of those lamps and would highly recommend checking them out.

      Check in on your friend.  Refer them to my post.  There are ways to help combat some of these symptoms that so many face.

      Tammy

  2. Thanks for your views on the doom and gloom of winter,  I completely agree with you on this, I don’t like how it gets dark outside so early and stays dark longer in the morning. These long, dark, cold winter days brings a blanket of darkness over my mood subjecting this feeling of impending doom on me.

    Lately since winter has struck, I have been feeling a lot more tired than usual. A friend has suggested that I try taking a vitamin D supplement for this, do you think vitamin D would help with feeling tired? with the combination of winter and everything being so hectic with Christmas coming up, a supplement for my energy will surely help.

    • Hello Neil,

      Thank you for your comments.  Yes, I am a huge fan of taking Vitamin D for overall health.  The main reason I take it is for supporting immune, brain, and nervous system health.  I have a job that keeps me indoors and I rarely can naturally get all the Vitamin D my body needs.

      Tammy

  3. I know of what you speak.  Not sure where you live; I live in Alaska.  Already you know that I have a big problem with lack of light in the winter.  Of course, we make up for it in summer, when it is light all the time, and that creates other problems.  However, it is hard to deal with the great absence of sunshine, or daylight of any kind, in winter.

    Yes, I do take vitamin D regularly.  It’s practically a must if  you live up here.  You did make one suggestion that I really like, though, and that is the lamp.  That’s something I might try.  I could put it here in my office right next to this computer where I spend my days.  It could be an answer I hadn’t considered before.  Thank you.

    • Hello Fran

      Alaska is definately somewhere you can relate to my post.  You should really go and check out those lamps.  I think it would be a great help during those dark seasons and will fit perfect in your office.   They have such awesome reviews and can really help.

      Thanks for your comments

      Tammy

  4. Hello! This is coming so new to me as a terminology but I understand ecerybit of this concept and words. It seems really good to know of and I must tell you that I will work on this especially for one of my friends. He reacts rather awkwardly whenever he is in the dark without lihht

  5. Hi Tammy. I used to hear about the mood swings caused by the dark days and nights, but never took it seriously because I live in the tropics . The sun shines most days and although we have shorter days at some times during the year,  in general it is light outside. My sister who left to live in the United States often relate the stories of waking up for work and having to plough through snow and ice to get around as a sales person. Thank you for the information and suggestions as to how to deal with the mental condition brought on by lack of light.

    • Hello JJ

      A little jealous you live in the tropics. We are in that short days season in the United States right now.  

      Thanks for your comments.

      Tammy

  6. Seasonal affective disorder is a very bad type of depression that should be taken with seriousness as you’ve said that it can lead to a bad health and psychological conditions some that you’ve mentioned. Its quite surprising and painful to me that some people get to suffer the change in seasons. The symptoms you’ve states will help people take no of this type of disorder. Thanks

  7. Hi Tammy. This is quite shocking for me to know that people switch from one mood to another with the change of seasons; that’s really sad to know. This is my first time to encounter the phrase Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I don’t have this ailment and I don’t think I know anyone with it either.

    I stayed so long under sunlight yesterday while on a task at my workplace. Vitamin D is an awesome vitamin for the body. The bright light therapy amazes me too.

    • Hello Vwegbah,

      Thank you for your comments.  I always knew the phrase “winter blues” but was not aware until recently about Seasonal Affective Disorder.  

      Tammy

  8. Dark winter blues depression is a serious topic that should be treated with utmost seriousness and importance. Thanks for citing your daughter as a perfect example, it gets all mood changing when seasons change and these kind of depression has the tendency of shattering its victim’s social life, it’s good to be sensitized like this because prevention is better than cure and early Discovery helps.

  9. Seasonal affective disorder is one hing that I am hearing for the first time.This is really great to see here and I must say that you have clarified some misconceptions and unclear things for me now. However, I also feel the need to keep pushing myself to the best possible way to get out of this depressive state during winters and thanks for sharing this post.

  10. SAD as being tagged can really lead to the potentials of either doing more than what was thought possible or not even doing anything at all. This is massive and I will try all my possible best to truly prevent this among my sisters. Two of them are exhibiting these traits already and I feel that arresting the situation on time would help to save a lot of things. Thanks

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  Sometimes just being aware of the signs and symptoms can help prevent a long term problem.  Best to all.

      Tammy

  11. Depression generally affects the mind and the way of relation of its victims. I find you specifying these symptoms to be a helpful guide for people who might be feeling some how according to seasonal changes. Seasonal affective disorder can affect any one of any age range and so it should be considered to be dangerous and preventive measures should be taken.

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