Winter blues, the sadness that comes with winter

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It is called Winter Blues or SAD (and in itself, it is already evocative) and it affects a considerable percentage of people as winter arrives. it is a seasonal affective disorder that causes listlessness, sadness, and moodiness. It can be contrasted with regular physical activity, targeted nutrition, and, in some cases, with light therapy.

Other than a Disney Frozen atmosphere Winter brings with it shorter and shorter days, leaden skies, fog, and very cold temperatures. It is therefore easy to feel low in the mood without really understanding the reason, not wanting to put your nose out of the house, and not have any incentive to do physical activity.

This psychological condition has a name. It’s called Winter Blues and is a mood disorder that scientifically is called SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal affective disorder ). The first to identify this pathology in the 1980s was Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, a psychiatrist, and author of the book “Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder”. But a decade later, a real diagnosis of this disorder was presented, highlighting how light can affect the human circadian system by suppressing the hormone known as melatonin.

Hence the doubt whether SAD may be the consequence of a poor secretion of melatonin at night or rather an alteration of the circadian sleep-wake rhythm, always due to the scarce hours of light daily.

On the other hand, it is well known that the changing of the seasons has an effect on the body and that therefore this effect can also affect mood. But the winter season is not the only determining factor for the appearance of this seasonal affective disorder. In addition to having to consider environmental factors (those who live in higher latitudes are more exposed to the risk of suffering from SAD), there is also a question linked to the sex of people, in fact, women seem to be more predisposed than men to suffer from this inexplicable drop in mood.

This year, the health emergency we are experiencing is also making matters worse, which certainly does not help between more or less restrictive lockdowns and lack of social relations. So how should a woman behave who in 2020, at the gates of a long winter season, lives in a country in Northern Europe?Winter blues

Light Therapy

Since it has been shown how much light can affect the human circadian system, light therapy can be considered a useful therapy for the treatment of SAD. In order to achieve this type of therapy, numerous tools have been developed in recent years and some of them have undergone clinical trials. As a result, white light lamps with a low diffusion screen that filters out UV rays are the most effective solution.


A diet rich in magnesium, tryptophan and vitamin B1 can also be useful for fighting moodiness or even depression.


The lack of magnesium is decisive in reducing the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters of the state of anxiety and nervousness. You can then stock them with dried fruit, broccoli, zucchini, artichokes, and legumes.


The tryptophan, also known as the happiness hormone, is an amino acid found in many proteins of animal and vegetable origin, which must necessarily be taken through food because it can not be synthesized by the body. Tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin, a hormone that controls mood in the brain by acting as a neurotransmitter. You can find it in legumes, sesame seeds, and whole grains.

Vitamin B1

To counteract depression and improve mood, vitamin B1, or thiamine, is called a morale vitamin due to its ability to positively influence people’s mental attitudes. It is found in cereals, legumes, eggs, pork, and yeast.

Physical activity

A walk in the open, a jog at lunchtime, or a home fitness session two or three times a week can help keep the bad mood at bay. To be called into question endorphins, substances produced by the brain whenever your body is set in motion and have a positive effect on your state of mental and physical health.

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