A lot of people feel more tired or sluggish or have other mild symptoms during winter. There is less sunlight available; sometimes much less, and that can effect a lot of us.
But how do you know the difference between the milder form of winter blues or the more serious experience of seasonal affective disorder? My blog posts today and tomorrow will help to make it more clear. Today we take a look at winter blues.
Both sets of symptoms can be helped by hygge-ing your winter, but the degree or intensity of your experience will dictate just how much help you need. Either way, my goal is to empower you to bring comfort, peace & wellbeing to your winter experience.
"Ever since my colleagues and I first described seasonal affective disorder (Sad) at America’s National Institute of Mental Health in the mid-1980s, it was obvious that we were not dealing with an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but with a spectrum of emotional and behavioural problems linked to the seasons. At one extreme are people with Sad, who struggle during the short dark days of winter, sometimes to a disabling degree. At the other are those who wake up cheerfully, rain or shine. In between are those with the winter blues. They manage with difficulty during the dark days but are less joyful, productive and creative than usual."
From what I have read, what creates the difference between the two is the level or intensity of problems that result.
Though many people have winter blues, it doesn't keep them from doing functioning in any area of their lives, which is not always true for those who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Winter blues makes life's demands more difficult to do, but those who have it, manage in spite of it.
And since it's about severity rather than having different symptoms, both groups can have less energy, a tendency to sleep more, carbohydrate cravings, irritability. But those who are at the lower end of the spectrum find it easier to live with or manage the symptoms. At the other end, the symptoms are more intense and more difficult to manage or endure.
"Without a proper diagnosis, it is often easy to confuse true SAD with a lighter case of the 'winter blues.' This refers to the time in which the many changes in your lifestyle, such as reduced activity and socialization, a changing sleep schedule, and less natural sunlight, leads to tired, sluggish and generally less happy feelings." ~ Mary Anne Alexander, MD
Tomorrow, we'll take a closer look at the more extreme version of winter blues, often referred to as seasonal affective disorder. Though they are used interchangeably, professionals often distinguish between the two by looking at the severity of symptoms.
See you then!