5 min read

Signs You’re Depressed & Might Not Know It (Plus Helpful Ways to Beat It)

winter blues

Between gray skies and cold temperatures, winter can really hit our mood from time to time. That’s perfectly normal and often we know exactly what we can do to make it feel better again soon. But what if that depressing feeling remains or keeps coming back? Colloquially, this feeling is called the winter blues or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and is primarily triggered by the severe lack of light in winter. But how can you tell if the winter blues have caught up with you? And what can you do to enjoy the cold season more and see its positive sides? We give you the best tips to brighten up your mood. And remember, every winter is followed by a sunny spring!

Also worth reading: 8 Tried-and-True Motivational Tools to Make it Through Winter

 

© Cavan Images

You know yourself best! You can probably tell if you’re just having a bad day that might be fixed by a chocolaty protein bar, or if there’s more to it than that. Sometimes, however, patterns and feelings creep in that we ignore or don’t want to pay attention to. To escape the winter doldrums, however, it pays to be mindful of our behavior. Clues that you might have the winter blues can be:

#1 You’re constantly in a bad mood

When the traffic light feels like it’s been red for an eternity, or a friend is taking too long to respond to a message, or the line at the supermarket aisle is too crowded…a little thing is enough to really spoil your mood.

#2 You quickly become very emotional

Angry, sad, annoyed… your emotions quickly boil over for the smallest reason, even if the trigger hardly affects you in retrospect. This pattern can also be reflected in emotional eating.

#3 Or you don’t care about anything

Instead of emotions boiling over, you feel… relatively little. You’re indifferent to most things and realize that this feeling is accompanied by a larger lack of motivation.

#4 You have trouble concentrating

Like checking your cell phone for a moment and getting lost on a social media scroll instead, or deciding to tidy, scrub, and vacuum instead of focusing on the task at hand. Lack of concentration can be another sign that the winter blues have crept in.

#5 Your muscles are tense

Whether it’s your neck, shoulders or back…your muscles feel tense more and more often? Tension can be a sign of negative emotions.

Our tip: Even though it treats the symptoms rather than solves the problem, foam rolling can give you some relief and help you relax. We show you 5 helpful foam roller exercises.

#6 You’re sleeping poorly

You’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, and you feel exhausted the next morning. You need coffee by the liter. This is another way your body can tell you that something’s wrong.

© Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman

Constantly waiting for spring or sunshine and complaining about the gray weather can quickly drag your mood down even further. Take things into your own hands instead of waiting! We’re going to show you our favorite ways to get out of that winter-induced mood slump. First and foremost, that means giving your inner badass a mighty kicking. And here’s how:

#1 Move!

You probably know this by now: that even if you don’t feel like it, it’s important to stay active. Strength training at the gym, jogging through the park, or joining a football team… the possibilities are endless and it doesn’t matter what you choose. The most important thing is that you enjoy it!

Not sure where to start? You’ll find sessions for every fitness level among our workouts, and all you need is a mat and some space.

#2 Don’t isolate yourself

Mostly wanting to melt into your couch and start a movie marathon? There are evenings when we don’t feel like company, but if you find that those evenings are piling up, push yourself to call a close friend or partner. Make a date, even if it’s just for a short time, and you’ll realize how good that company is for you. If you feel the need, talk to your friends about your feelings. If you don’t feel like it, don’t force yourself. Even talking about trivial topics can help you have a carefree time. And you know what’s always a good idea? Cooking together! We’re happy to do the work of finding recipes for you. How about a vegan cauliflower soup with tahini? Perfect for cold winter days.

#3 Recharge with some fresh air

Even short walks can improve your mood. To do this, try to take a regular lap in the fresh air. Even if it’s just a short one, regularity makes all the difference. We’ll explain exactly what positive benefits walking can have on your body and mind.

#4 Eat fresh and healthy

Your athletic goals don’t always have to be the main reason for eating a healthy and balanced diet. You can also positively influence your mood with healthy foods and meals. Do you feel like you need sugar and comfort food all the time? Don’t forbid yourself anything, and try replacing the chocolate bar with a healthier alternative, for example with our chocolatey protein brownies, without any added sugar.

#4 Try yoga or meditation

Take time for yourself. And we don’t mean spending time on your smartphone or in front of the TV. Consciously connect with your body and mind. How about a gentle yoga flow or some meditation? We’ll show you which type of yoga suits you best. The best way to find out, though, is to try it out yourself!

#5 Arrange dates with yourself

Make yourself a priority and arrange fixed moments in which it’s all about you. Put away your cell phone, turn off the TV. Whether you prefer to do your self-care routines in the morning or evening (or both, why not?) is up to you. You can enjoy your first coffee in the morning without distractions, apply a calming face mask in the evening, meditate…or just do what feels good to you.

Our idea for a relaxing evening? How about a homemade Protein Pizza, with any toppings as you like.

#6 Cut yourself some slack

You always have good advice for your friends, encourage them, and support them when times are tough, but do you give yourself the same courtesy or are you strict and impatient with yourself? Even if it feels unfamiliar – try to be as empathetic with yourself as you are with your best friend. Positive affirmations can help you stay confident and make you feel good about yourself. Pay attention to yourself and the signals your body is sending you. Sometimes you just need a break, and you can take it with a clear conscience, because taking care of yourself is always the priority.

Disclaimer: This article contains tips for better handling stressful situations. These tips, however, do not replace medical advice or treatment. If your daily life or that of people around you is dominated by fatigue and moodiness for weeks on end, you should seek professional help. Early symptoms that may indicate depressive episodes or depression include lack of energy, persistent fatigue, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances, listlessness, apathy, and loss of appetite. (NHS Mental Health).

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