Winter Blues and Your Marriage
When the days get shorter and darker, do you notice that your marriage starts suffering?
Both my husband and I experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which affects us in different ways throughout the winter months. Our moods seem to change along with the time change each year.
Until I was in my late thirties, I didn’t understand how SAD was impacting my life and marriage. My counselor listened to my symptoms and said SAD was likely the source of my winter blues. As I learned more about SAD, I recognized that my husband’s winter behavior also matched SAD symptoms.
These are the common signs of seasonal affective disorder that may be affecting your marriage:
- Persistent feelings of sadness with no other explanation
- Sudden mood swings
- Decreased energy levels
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of interest in activities you normally enjoy
- Desire to sleep more often than normal
- Desire to eat more than normal
If your winter blues normally lift when Spring arrives, and recur during the fall and winter, you may have SAD. These symptoms can mirror the signs of clinical depression or other mental health issues, so it’s wise to consult with a professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
When you or your husband are irritable, withdrawn, apathetic or moody due to SAD, your marriage can suffer. You may feel at odds with one another and not sure how to make things right. Fortunately, you can relieve many of SAD’s symptoms with at-home treatments like these.
How to Combat the Winter Blues
Get moving. If you can exercise outdoors, your mood will greatly benefit from the sunshine and physical activity. Bundle up and try to get outdoors for 10 to 15 minutes every day if the sun is out. A regular walk with your husband can boost the love factor in your marriage.
Swap the sweets. I crave carbohydrates and sweets when I’m feeling blue. Unfortunately, they can set up a cycle of blood sugar highs and lows that leave me feeling worse. When I limit carbs and sweets and eat more vegetables and bone-broth-based soups, I feel happier in the winter. You can try cooking healthy foods as a couple to enjoy quality time.
Get enough Vitamin D. Your stores of Vitamin D decrease when you aren’t outdoors as often in colder months. Increase your intake of foods rich in Vitamin D, such as fish, fortified orange juice, dairy products and eggs. You can also take Vitamin D supplements. Both of you will feel better when you get enough of this essential vitamin.
Purchase a specialty lamp. Light therapy regulates your body’s production of melatonin, which often takes a hit during winter months. Melatonin regulates your sleep cycles, and we all become crabby without quality rest. By using an indoor lamp every day, you can beat the winter blues and get better sleep. Get one lamp for you and one for your husband and watch your moods improve.
Give each other massages. When someone touches you with love, you bond more closely because oxytocin is released. Massage one another’s neck, back, arms, legs and feet to get those naturally good hormones flowing. My husband and I once got a couples’ massage and paid attention to the techniques the therapists used, and now we use those techniques on each other!
If you try these therapeutic methods and still need help, check with your doctor. Don’t let the winter blues take a toll on your marriage. Fight them proactively so your marriage will be stronger.
Wife Step: Take one of the above steps to lessen the impact of SAD on your marriage.
This post is adapted from my four-part blog series, How to Fight the Winter Blues.
Sarah Geringer writes about Finding Peace in God’s Word at sarahgeringer.com and is the author of three self-published books. Her book on Christian meditation will be published by Leafwood in late 2019. When she’s not reading or writing, Sarah enjoys painting, baking, gardening and playing the flute. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children, right in the heart of prime viewing for the Great Eclipses of 2017 and 2024.
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