It has long been thought that mental health suffered during the winter months, especially around Christmas time, and that the season brought a peak in the suicide rate. As it turns out, this is in fact an urban myth.
It was hypothesised that the dark, gray winters and and the lack of vitamin D from the sun caused SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) and some of this may be true. But the fact of the matter is, suicide is more common in the warmer months, probably peaking in May.
Which doesn’t mean to say you can afford to be complacent about depression in winter either with yourself or the those around you. Some people certainly do feel worse in winter and this is worrying.
So what can be done to banish the winter blues?
Firstly, don’t worry about mild low mood. Clinical depression should be diagnosed and treated under the eyes of professionals, but worrying about feeling low can just lead you into a cycle of anxious depression.
Doing something tends to make you feel better. And if that something is active then it will probably work even better. If you can spend time outside in the countryside, especially in the brightness of the middle of the day then that will also do wonders for your mood.
Spending time with people or losing yourself in books, crosswords and sudoku are also great mood lifters. But why not use those days for something more constructive. If there are aspects of your life that are making you feel low, maybe now is the time to start addressing them.
If what you want to achieve feels to grand, and that is part of why you are feeling low, there is a simple remedy to get you going and motivated. Take a pen and paper and start planning. Get into minutiae detail about what it is you want to do, what problems you might face and most importantly how you might overcome those problems. The key is in the detail.
When you have planned in great detail what you want and how you intend to get it, the doing part will seem much easier and achievable, and this will help lift your mood. Remember, happiness is not having what we want, it’s being on the way to that achievement.
If you ever feel very depressed or suicidal, contact a health professional, tell people around you or speak to the Samaritans or a similar organisation.