Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Spring Depression affects many

I looked at the clock tonight at 7pm and thought Wow, things change quickly! Its not just because we changed to summer time, or daylight savings a few days ago but because the days are now quickly becoming longer and longer - we're gaining 5 minutes a day, that is 35 minutes a week! You sure do notice that from one week to the next.

While you would think that we would be thrilled to have the light back after a looooonnnnngggg winter (winter in Sweden is always long) it seems the light sets off winter depression in something like 3-5% of the population. As many as one in five feel mild symptoms of spring depression or at least spring tiredness.

Depression is a word that gets thrown around a lot in this country and I'm not sure if it is because there is good reason for it, or if the whole things becomes a bit exaggerated and self-fulfilling. A friend of mine has always talked about her spring depression and it is only as I write this I begin to think about my own reaction. Most years I have managed to escape to Australia during the winter but I have noticed that the years I don't go, I have run out of energy come February. I have felt flat, tired and well, worn out. Spring depression perhaps?

A recent article in SvD suggests that the best way to cure, or at least ward off spring depression, is not through medication but through light. While daily exercise is generally considered the best cure for mild depression, daily light is best in the spring and I know a combination of the two has cured my friend. Once upon a time we would have withdrawn in the darker part of the year and not been our or performed as much. While that is no longer the case we still need to allow our body clocks some time to make the change, and accept that feeling a little flat or down is all part of our cyclical rhythms.

So if you too are feeling like your battery has completely run out of juice the advice is - eat well, sleep well, exercise and spend 30 minutes a day outside in the light.
How about you? Are you suffering as the days get longer or loving every minute of it?


  1. Well, I beg to differ about the sunlight. I am living in Wisconsin, USA, and have been here for about 33 years. Spring (which is largely nonexistent here) is the most depressing period for me. The longer daylight hours are just a cruel taunt when temperatures are so low and the weather is so unforgiving. Why not just have it dark at 5-6 pm until it's really outside weather again (normal Spring for someone who was raised in the South. I do foast walking all year and being outside is not the cure.

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