Mars vs. Venus: Those Winter Blues
At this time of year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a diet or fitness-related resolution on their list. And with weight loss being one of the most popular resolutions, it’s no surprise that everyone’s dusting off their trainers and hitting the treadmill. But many of us, make a stab at this, and then let it slide because either it’s too cold or too dark outside, or your muscles hurt, or the gym’s too crowded or frankly, being surrounded by all those finely honed bodies feels plain depressing! And yet for many women it feels more than that, it’s a daily struggle to get in the right frame of mind to achieve any sort of goals.
We all of course get the winter blues now and then, the shorter days, the freezing weather and the arrival of the post-Christmas credit card bill all play their part, and the myza team is no exception to this. However, according to research women suffer far more than men.
A recent study of more than 150,000 people aged 37 to 73 (so age is no differential!) discovered at this time of year, women are much more tired, have more depressive symptoms and take less pleasure in the things they normally enjoy. In contrast men’s moods remain stable. Interestingly, there may be a biological reason for this.
It’s believed that we feel sadder in autumn and winter because the shorter days disrupt our sleep-wake rhythms, which affect mood. But women’s brains may also be more sensitive to the changes of the seasons and more vulnerable to the darker and colder evenings. It’s known that they produce more of the stress hormone cortisol and have a greater inflammatory response to environmental stress than men, which is more likely to cause depression.
Three per cent of the population suffer with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD – a type of depression whose symptoms are more severe during the winter. But many women feel flat or unhappy at this time of year, with the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants soaring. The study showed women’s depressive symptoms peak with the seasons, but men’s do not, and social and lifestyle factors appeared to make no difference suggesting a gender specific biological mechanism.
So over the coming weeks, we’ll be coming up with ways to help you combat those winter blues (and if you also have any thoughts or tips you’d like to share, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you).