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Winter depression - the most important things in brief

Do the days in the winter months always seem cold, gray and wet to you? Then there is also the possibility for you to fall into a winter depression. You are tired, easily irritable, listless or often sad - all these feelings are already symptoms of a winter blues.

But what is winter depression and how can you counteract it? In the following blog we will go into more detail about the definition, causes and symptoms and explain what can help against your depressed mood.

What is winter depression?

A winter depression is defined by the fact that those affected suffer from the typical symptoms, such as listlessness or difficulty concentrating. The symptoms can reach the same degree of severity as with a "normal" depression and thus have a significant impact on everyday life, but they decrease again in the spring - this means that winter depression only refers to the winter months (November-February).

In contrast to being in a bad mood, which of course everyone can have at some point, winter depression, also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), leads to an extreme impairment of your well-being.

Difference between depression and seasonal affective disorder

The symptoms of winter blues subside in the spring, but they persist in the case of depression. Depression is a serious illness that should be treated with therapy, so it is advisable to see a doctor.

The causes are extensive - traumatic experiences or genetics are just examples.

To the symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Inner unrest
  • listlessness and sleep disorders
  • feelings of inferiority
  • suicidal thoughts
  • Physical complaints without clinical cause

Anyone who suffers from a variety of symptoms should be treated with therapy.

What are the causes of winter depression?

The frustration in the cold season can be explained by the fact that we suffer from a lack of daylight. This deficiency causes our body to produce less serotonin, which elevates our mood and keeps us fit.

The lack of light also leads to a release of the sleep hormone melatonin, even during the day, which messes up our rhythm enormously.

Another cause of winter depression can also be vitamin D deficiency. This vitamin is responsible for numerous functions in the body and also strengthens the immune system. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that our body can produce and store itself. Anyone who was unable to get enough vitamin D in the summer months is more likely to suffer from a depressive mood in the cold seasons.

What are the symptoms of winter depression?

The symptoms of winter blues are very similar to the symptoms of classic depression. These include, among others:

  • sadness & joylessness
  • wine attacks
  • irritation
  • Lack of concentration & listlessness
  • Constant tiredness & excessive need for sleep
  • Cravings for carbohydrates and sweets

Severe forms are even accompanied by feelings of total hopelessness and helplessness. Those affected feel dead inside and even everyday trifles lead to excessive demands.

How do you treat SAD?

In the worst case, the constantly bad mood and tiredness can also affect your immune system and thus make the body a target for diseases. However, with a few tips and tricks you can ensure that this does not happen.

The most important rule is:

treat yourself well

Do things you enjoy, read a book, meet your friends, pursue your hobbies. The most important thing during a depressive phase is not to let yourself go and bunker up, but to go out and devote yourself to the beautiful things in life.

consumption of daylight

Daylight is pretty much the most important factor in counteracting winter blues. Sporting activities could, for example, be moved outside or regular walks can be planned. You should spend at least half an hour a day in the fresh air several times a week.

Morning light therapy

To counteract the lack of light, sufferers are advised to sit in front of a 10,000 lux therapy lamp for 30 minutes every morning. This type of therapy takes about 2 weeks to take full effect. It should start in early February and continue until the end of February.


In any case, sport is recommended in a depressive mood. A combination of endurance training and strength training has proven to be useful here. However, it is important that you enjoy the sport yourself, so you should do what you enjoy doing.

Taking vitamin D

Of course, you can get vitamin D through conventional food, such as consuming salmon, dairy products, mushrooms, and eggs.

You can also supplement the vitamin D deficiency in the winter months with the help of supplements. There are different types of capsules in different doses, which you can find in our shop here find.

If the intake of preparations is considered, it is advisable to have a doctor take a blood count to clearly demonstrate the lack of vitamin D in the blood and thus initiate correct intake of the correct dose.

St. John's wort ingestion

St. John's wort is a natural remedy that can, among other things, drive away listlessness and tiredness. If you drink a cup of St. John's wort tea every day, your mood will gradually improve. Other herbs that improve the depressive mood or work against sleep disorders would be, for example, dandelion, wormwood or saffron.

Supplying serotonin through healthy eating

When consuming foods that contain the protein tryptophan, it has been proven that the formation of the happiness hormone serotonin increases, which results in a lift in your mood. Examples of these foods include:

  • chocolate
  • Noodles, Rice & Potatoes
  • lean meat
  • Legumes & Nuts
  • oatmeal

Eating a number of spicy foods in addition to these staples will improve your mood, as being hot causes your body to release endorphins.


A large number of people are affected by winter depression, this is mainly due to the lack of light in the winter months. In principle, winter depression is not that tragic and can easily be reversed with simple tips & tricks.
If the depressive mood persists in the spring, you should definitely see a doctor.
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