Autumn and winter depression

Top self-help tips

Our Mayr psychologists share their blues-busting tips

The autumn and winter blues can creep in as temperatures drop, the days gets shorter and mornings gloomier. Depression takes hold of its victims, making them lethargic and irritable and throwing them off balance. But there is hope. Take action and rediscover joy.

Hilfe bei Winterdepression Park Igls Mayr Clinic

Autumn and winter depression feeds on darkness
As the days get shorter, darker, wetter and greyer, even the happiest of souls can withdraw into couch potato mode. As explained by Dr Melanie Robertson, clinical, health and neuropsychologist, as well as an emergency and sports psychologist at the Park Igls Mayr clinic, ‘Autumn and winter depression are also known by the medical term, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Symptoms usually begin in the autumn or winter months and, in most cases, end in spring. If symptoms come and go in a seasonal pattern over a period of at least two years, it is likely to be winter depression.’ ‘Insufficient exposure to sunlight causes the brain to produce higher levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone that also dampens mood and reduces energy. When melatonin levels rise, the body automatically secretes less serotonin, the happy hormone. It’s a vicious hormonal circle,’ says Thomas Blasbichler MA, clinical, health and sports psychologist at the Park Igls Mayr clinic.

Park Igls Gesundheitszentrum Hilfe bei Depressionen

Mayr psychologists help you to help yourself
Robertson and Blasbichler recommend acting quickly: ‘Take action as soon as you start to feel that your emotional health might be in trouble.’ ‘The objective at Park Igls is to help people help themselves. We provide psychological support and identify learning pathways for new patterns of thought and behaviour. We also encourage our patients to get outside and exercise every day. Sunlight stimulates the body to produce cortisol, a natural hormone that helps to make us alert,’ the Mayr psychologists advise. Even on a dull winter’s day, regular outdoor exercise significantly increases wellbeing.

Hilfe bei Depression Stimmungsaufmacher Moderne Mayr Cuisine

Modern Mayr cuisine and Modern Mayr Medicine provide relief
As the gut plays an important part in our state of mind, health-conscious nutrition can help us manage our mental state. ‘It has long been proven that increased intestinal permeability can have an effect on the psyche. Instances of this include leaky gut syndrome (where substances pass through the intestinal wall) and food allergies or intolerances.’ The Mayr psychologists add: ‘Activating the immune system in the gut has a large part to play in counteracting depression.’ In this respect, a Modern Mayr Medicine treatment can stabilise the emotions as well as providing an intestinal cleanse.

Mood-lifting Modern Mayr cuisine
Modern Mayr cuisine provides reenergising meals for winter using light, warming and nutritious ingredients. This includes freshly prepared, steamed vegetarian dishes, wholesome oils, (dried) fruit, cereals, pulses and metabolism-boosting spices such as mustard, ginger, garlic, pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Hot drinks, ideally ginger or cinnamon tea, also form part of Modern Mayr cuisine, which favours hot meals over raw foods, especially in the evenings. However, high-fat or fried food should be avoided at all costs. And, crucially, be good to yourself: listen to music, have massages, aromatherapy… the sky’s the limit!

Mit Bewegung gegen die Herbst und Winterdepression

Self-help tips for autumn and winter depression

1) Get moving to fight autumn and winter depression. A gentle workout reduces stress and boosts serotonin and noradrenaline to lift mood.

2) Light therapy: Sunlight stimulates the production of cortisol, which makes us alert. Sunlight and fresh air are most effective in combination with exercise. Alternatively, exercise in artificial light conditions that simulate strong daylight.

3) Eat happy: Our second brain is in our stomach – our ‘root system’. In winter, nourish it with light, warming foods such as steamed vegetables, oils and spices.

4) Treat yourself: Enjoy a massage with aromatic oils, a good book, a hot aromatherapy bath, mood music… Make time for the things that make you happy.

5) Avoid stress: Stress fuels depression. Stress management coaching helps you locate the stressors in your life and make better choices. Live a happier life and outsmart autumn and winter depression!


Health psychology

Images: Park Igls, ©iStock