I think it was one of my roommates who told me about seasonal affective disorder. She'd read an article describing it and thought it might be the reason I was depressed. I was in my 20s at the time, and had never heard of it. By the time I finished reading the article, I knew that was exactly what was wrong, and was so relieved to have an explanation. In the many years that followed, I tried a lot of things that didn't help. With Hygge, I have been reminded of a few things that did and found others that I hadn't heard or thought of before. Do you have winter blues, too? If you're not sure, this article will help you decide.
"Life naturally slows down in winter. The days grow shorter, light becomes scarce, and we respond by planting ourselves in front of the television or hiding under the covers to stay warm. But how do you know when a seasonal slump is a more serious problem?" ~Psycom.net
Defining Winter Blues
People often use the terms "winter blues" and "seasonal affective disorder" interchangeably, because both occur as a result of the lessening sunlight available that occurs as fall becomes winter and both make winter difficult for a lot of people who don't live near the equator or in places where the seasons don't change at all.
But the latter is an official diagnostic term for people who have symptoms of Major Depression during the winter. The former can include a few of the symptoms, some of them, most or all, but they haven't been diagnosed.
Many people experience the symptoms without being diagnosed and may go through several difficult winters before getting an official diagnosis.
“With SAD, one theory is that light entering the eye causes changes in hormone levels in the body. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up. It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.