Me-time: beat the winter blues

winter dip verslaan

Are you feeling tired when you wake up, in a bad mood and also, you just hate those short dark days? Then you might have a case of the winter blues. Beat the annoying seasonal depression to the punch by planning in plenty of me-time. This way, you can breeze through the winter months with ease.

What is the winter blues?

The winter blues is also called winter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, it often isn’t about going into a real depression, but just a mild case of the blues paired with the lack of (sun)light. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in the Netherlands experience the winter blues, the majority of whom are women. They feel gloomy, but the feeling passes as soon as the days become longer again and spring begins. A small percentage deals with a bad case of winter depression and experiences severe symptoms.

How do you get a winter depression?

A variety of factors causes the winter blues or depression. During autumn, your biological clock gets out of synch because the sun rises later in the day, and it gets dark earlier. The production of melatonin in the body also plays an integral part in all of this. This substance is produced by your body at night and is meant to make you feel tired. As the days become shorter, some people’s bodies produce melatonin earlier on in the day, which makes them feel sleepy.

Symptoms of the winter blues

Do you recognize any of the following symptoms? Then you might have a case of the winter blues.

Tired and sleepy

  • You’re exhausted;
  • You’re sleeping more than average but still feel tired;
  • It’s hard for you to focus;
  • You’re feeling more irritable than usual;
  • The day-night rhythm changes. And you only start to feel ‘awake’ later on in the day.

Listless and gloomy

  • You’re unable to enjoy fun things or social interactions;
  • In some cases, people shut themselves off from the outside world completely;
  • You’re eating more, and unhealthier, than normal, which makes you gain weight.
  • Dreariness is the emotional state you’re in most of the time.
  • You no longer feel balanced.

Forget about the winter blues and choose me-time instead!

Winter depression can make the fun holiday months feel tiresome and like a burden. That’s why you must try to prevent catching a case of the winter blues by choosing to take some time for yourself. Choose to take some me-time with the following tips.

Take a morning walk

The lack of sunlight is what causes your winter blues, but you can (partly) prevent this by going outside when the sun rises. The morning rays contain a relatively large amount of blue light, which has a positive effect on your body’s production of melatonin, which stopped due to a lack of light. So, going for a walk every morning is a good remedy for the blues. You could also drink a cup of coffee on your balcony in the early morning light.

Take some time for yourself

Especially during the busy holiday months, you can feel like you’re being worn out. Most people have lots of responsibilities, such as Christmas drinks, dinners at school for which you need to take care of many things, shopping for presents and don’t forget about the decorating—are you getting exhausted just reading about it here? We get you! Take a break once in a while by taking some time for yourself. For instance, plan in two nights or mornings a week in which nothing needs to be done, but you can do whatever you want. Whether it’s simply reading a book on the couch or pampering yourself in your at-home spa: do whatever you like. But, if you ask us, hitting the hay early together with your new vibrator is still the ultimate me-time.

Try exercising outside

Exercise is good for you: it halves your chances of coming down with the winter blues. And it’s even better to exercise outside, preferably during the day, to catch as much sunlight as possible. Take a walk around your neighbourhood, go to the forest or go for a long walk on the beach, for instance.

Tip to fight the winter blues: eat healthily

When you’re eating healthy, it has a positive effect on your mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help with that. For example, vegetables, fruit and nuts are also good for your mental health. They contain healthy nutrients, such as fibre, antioxidants and vitamins and lead to a reduction in the rapid rise or dip in your blood sugar level. That way, you prevent the sudden fatigue you might experience after eating too many sugars or fast food.

What are you grateful for?

It’s an excellent exercise to consider the things you do have in life: write down three things you’re grateful for every day. These things you’re grateful for can be anything, from a sweet partner to good friends, having a lovely house, getting a good night’s sleep or even discovering a fun new series to watch.

Bring the excitement back into your relationship

Besides taking time for yourself, it’s also important to take time to work on your relationship. For instance, go out to dinner together – even if you’re busy – or make a romantic dinner at home. You can also create some extra sexual tension by opening a new box of the Naughty & Nice Advent calendar 2021 every day.

Try light therapy to counter your winter blues

If you’re really having a bad case of winter depression, light therapy is an option to try. Light therapy involves sitting in front of a special lamp for ten to fifteen minutes. This decreases the melatonin levels in your body, making you feel less sleepy. In most cases, light therapy can take between a few days to a few weeks before you notice the effects. While sitting in front of the lamp, you can still do some reading or watch tv. The lamp is special: brighter than a regular lamp, but not as bright as the sunlight on a good day, and without UV light. Your doctor can give you a referral if you qualify for receiving light therapy.

How do you get some me-time at such a busy time of year?

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