Kareena (name changed on request), an executive at a marketing firm is a bright and happy person. She is called “sunshine” by her friends thanks to her ability to cheer anyone instantly. However, since December, she has been going through some depressing times. An early riser and a fitness enthusiast, she hasn’t been able to wake up before 8.30 AM for the last two months. She finds excuses to skip the gym, doesn’t feel like talking to friends, has a craving for carbs and gorges on them at every occasion.
With a winter which doesn’t seem to want to leave us this year, these symptoms might sound familiar to you. If yes, you could be suffering from what is known as the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a mood disorder a lot of people suffer from during particular seasons especially winter. The symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of SAD and not just ‘feeling low’ based on the following main criteria:
1. The depressive episodes occur at a particular time of the year
2. These should have lasted for at least two years with no particular non-seasonal episodes.
A few tips to beat the winter blues:
1. Soak up the sun: Winter can be a tough time to get some sunshine. However you could try and go for a walk after lunch or mid-morning. Ditch the malls and take your loved ones out for picnics, 80s style.
2. Keep yourself warm all the time: You’ve got the best jackets but forget to cover your head. You’ve invested in Pashmina shawls but dislike wearing warm socks. The cold affecting the uncovered parts might play a huge part in making you feel low. So, the more you are covered, the better it is!
3. Stock up on healthy food: The mood swings could cause you to overeat, especially carbs. Make sure you stock on healthy stuff like nuts, wheat breads, brown rice, winter veggies and fruits. Have 5-6 small meals spaced throughout the day. Have lots of green tea or make kashmiri kawa at home. They are great as a source of antioxidants. The various flavours of tea available in the market today can surely boost anyone’s spirits.
4. Catch up on sleep: Since you can’t really stay out late, it’s the best time to catch up on sleep. Go to bed early and snooze for an extra hour or two.
5. Enjoy your time indoors – Forced to stay indoors due to the dipping temperature? Spend this time giving your home that much needed cleaning or facelift/ play board games with kids/ listen to your favourite music/ dance with your partner/ read those books you’ve been collecting the whole year/ speak to friends on the phone for hours on end.
6. Visit the doctor – if all the above does not work it’s time you visit a doctor who might prescribe you antidepressants or suggest light therapy.
Time to rise and shine, beat the winter blues with these simple tried and tested tips. After all, every season shall pass!