Why do some people find the Winter months more difficult and gloomy than other months of the year?
Professor Cary Cooper from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology has now given a name to such feelings of gloom: acute post-bank holiday depression syndrome.
Feeling a little blue, are you?
It's not surprising, say those who keep tabs on our mental well-being. And you aren't alone. What you're experiencing is something loosely known as the Winter Blues.
"It's almost like running a marathon," says Rebecca Kiki Weingarten, a New York-based life coach, of the letdown that follows the two-month, end-of-year holiday blitz. "Boom! It's over and you're exhausted."
A NUMBER OF REASONS FOR FEELING DOWN:
Having a decent social life often falls by the wayside during the winter. When it's cold and dark outside, we tend to curl up at home rather than get out and see friends.
Recreation and outdoor activities can also fall to the wayside. We complain about the cold and are not interested in winter activities.
The bills come due. The "real story" could well be another thing that troubles a lot of us come January: the holiday spending hangover. Another reason surveyed for the Winter Blues is the dreaded arrival of the credit card statement in January.
And there are those New Year's resolutions. The mere idea of impending change can make us anxious. "Change is very difficult for most people," says psychologist Ronald Nathan. "The only people who enjoy change are babies with a full diaper."
Worse than change, though, is failure. Nathan cites a recent survey that showed that 77 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions break them within the first week. Thus, he says, we're burdened with feelings of failure and lowered self-esteem. (Actually, Nathan says, this should be a good thing. "Each time we try to change [and fail] it increases our odds to succeed because we know what not to do next time.")
One of the biggest reasons for the Winter Blues is using a great amount of negative thoughts. Taking part of negative thinking in the game of life is highly de-energizing at any month of the year. The winter months seem to attract the greatest number of negative thinkers (players). Everyone complaints about the cold weather and the long dark days.
Feeling SAD? Certain populations appear more susceptible to the Winter blues. Folks who suffer from seasonal affective disorder -- a type of winter depression caused by a dearth of daylight -- have been on the rebound since Dec. 22 when the days began getting microscopically longer, but they still face another couple of months of extended darkness.
College students, too. "A lot of students suffer a January letdown," says Dr. Robert Bashford, a psychiatrist. "They've gone home, had a great time. They haven't had to stick with the program. Then they come back to school, and they really hit the wall."
TIPS TO BEATING THE WINTER BLUES