How do you get over seasonal depression

Autumn depression: what you can do about it

Do you feel listless and down in the fall months? Many people react to the cold, damp, cloudy weather with mood swings and extreme tiredness. If these symptoms persist for a few weeks, one speaks of a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This depressed mood is also known as "autumn depression" or "autumn blues". But how do you recognize an autumn depression and what can you do about it?

Signs of autumn depression

Typical symptoms of autumn depression include listlessness, irritability, poor concentration and a depressed, melancholy mood. In addition, physical complaints such as stomach or back pain can occur. The seasonal low differs significantly from a longer-lasting depression: With a real depression, those affected suffer for several months from feelings of guilt, extreme mood swings, insomnia and loss of appetite. In contrast, the short-term “autumn blues” tend to include an increased need for sleep, cravings and weight gain among the symptoms.

The effects of lack of sunlight

According to the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology, almost every third German citizen suffers from a low mood during the cold season. One of the main causes of the depressed mood is the lack of daylight. If you leave your apartment in the dark early in the morning and spend the whole day in the office, your body can only get a little sunlight. The lack of light inhibits the production of endorphins in the body, which have a positive effect on your mood and general well-being.

Another consequence of the low light intake is a significant vitamin D deficiency. The less UV-B rays fall on the skin, the less vitamin D is produced. The body has to produce around 80 percent of the valuable vitamin itself in the skin - only between 10-20 percent of the required requirement can be absorbed through diet. The consequences of vitamin deficiency are fatigue, difficulty concentrating and a bad mood.

Tips to counteract an autumn depression

Did you know that you can handle the upcoming autumn blues with simple measures? You can significantly reduce your vitamin D deficiency with a daily walk in the fresh air. Many studies show that a twenty minute walk in the winter sun is enough to replenish vitamin D stores. So you should take advantage of every free minute in the sun: Take a walk around the block during your lunch break, walk to the last bus station and exercise as much outdoors as possible. You can also buy a daylight lamp with UV-B radiation. Experts refer to this approach, which is particularly widespread in Scandinavia, as "light therapy". The more UV-B rays fall on your skin, the more alert and alert you will feel. The radiation stimulates the body to release the "happiness hormone" serotonin and at the same time produces less melatonin. The sleep hormone controls the day-night rhythm and is responsible for the feeling of tiredness.

Another effective way to tackle fall depression is through eating right. Chilli contains the natural alkaloid capsaicin (CPS), which quickly releases endorphins in the body due to its heat. Magnesium also helps curb a depressed mood: The mineral is involved in numerous metabolic reactions, for example in the formation of serotonin. Norwegian researchers found a connection between a diet rich in magnesium and depression. The “Hordaland Health Study” showed a negative relationship between magnesium intake and the standardized depression scales: the more magnesium the respondents consumed, the lower the signs of depression. For this reason, it makes sense to focus more on foods with a high magnesium content during the darker season. These include, for example, bananas, nuts or lentils.

Sport against the autumn blues

Exercise releases various messenger substances in the body that have a positive effect on your mood. It has even been scientifically proven that exercise can counteract depression - regardless of age and weight. This is shown by a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Over a quarter of a million people were examined as part of the study: "The analysis of the data showed that participants who only moved a little had a greater risk of developing depression than participants who were very physically active." According to the study. The researchers found that this occurred equally in adolescents and adults on different continents. Exercise is therefore an effective means of counteracting depressed mood in the fall.

Do you also suffer from depression in autumn? You can actively counteract your autumn blues, for example by taking daily walks, exercising and eating right.

If the symptoms last longer and interfere with your everyday life, you can get help from Selfapy - anonymously and without annoying waiting times. Our online program supports you in getting your depression under control. Let our psychologists guide you via the message function. Find out more about our Selfapy Depression Course and arrange a free info talk today.