You’re all about the pizza and pasta


When you’re tired, your body naturally cranks up cravings for carbohydrates, which are its preferred energy source. Unfortunately, since we also tend to be less active in winter, the combination can pack on the pounds. Instead of embracing carbohydrates, build meals around foods rich in omega-3 fats that naturally rev up serotonin (try salmon, sardines, and walnuts) and tryptophan, a building block for serotonin (try turkey, eggs and spinach). Put vitamin D on the menu, too.

You’ve dropped off the party circuit

iStock/Balazs Kovacs

If it’s a challenge to get out of bed and you feel like you’re running on fumes, you’re less likely to book up your social calendar. “In turn, any depression worsens as a result of isolation,” says Mary Beth Somich, MA, EdM, LPCA, a licensed professional counseling associate in a private counseling practice in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Poor weather conditions only offer more incentive to stay home. “Those prone to SAD are more sensitive to bad weather affecting their mood and motivation, so it strongly affects their willingness to leave home, socialize, and reduce the isolation that contributes to their depressive symptoms.”

You’re a jangle of nerves


Anxiety alone doesn’t always indicate SAD, but as a symptom of SAD, anxiety symptoms can be worse during the harsher weather months. “For instance, if you associate snow and ice with probability of a motor vehicle accident, you’re more likely to stay indoors, which can then worsen the depression you feel in association with the seasonal onset,” says Somich. This is how the countries with the shortest days beat seasonal depression.