By Joseph Clayton
Although autumn and winter can be a magical time of the year for so many people, winter can also be a very difficult time, with it significantly impacting our mental health and well-being.
There are several reasons for this dip in our mood, such as the reduced level of sunlight in the day, leading to darker mornings and evenings with colder temperatures. As a result of this drastic change from our warm and bright summers, many people may experience winter-onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘Winter Depression’ or ‘Winter Blues’.
A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that people who experience ‘SAD’ have more serotonin being removed from their brains during the winter, therefore causing symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders as a consequence. In the UK, around 6% of the population suffer from significant winter depressions.
However, there are several ways that we can try and make sure that we have positive mental wellbeing this winter and to try and make us feel as happy as possible!
- Spending time outside and in the sunlight: spending time outside in the sunlight can massively improve and increase our serotonin levels, which can have a positive effect on our moods and well-being, whilst also keeping us warm during this time!
- Doing regular physical exercise: doing consistent exercise is a great way to release endorphins, giving you a natural boost and high, largely improving your mental health and state of mind. Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk is a helpful way for coping with the ‘Winter Blues’.
- Keeping a regular sleep pattern: ensuring that you keep a regular sleeping schedule can be a great way to fix and repair your mental health, as getting consistent sleep throughout the night should improve your mood and well-being.
- Socialising: keeping in touch with your friends and family is really important during the winter, as having a catch-up and being around the people who you care about the most can really lift your spirits and improve your mental health.