Are you one of those who feel down in winter - who are always lethargic and can't work up any enthusiasm? If it's any comfort, you're not alone.

Latest studies have revealed that one in every three Central Europeans suffers from mild depression during the cold season - winter depression. The phenomenon of winter depression was first described time by the US psychiatrist, Rosenthal, in 1984. The newly discovered condition aptly became known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

The full story behind SAD has still not been fully unravelled. However, scientists do know that a lack of light in wintertime does play a major part. This is why SAD sufferers are treated with light - and very successfully too.

In her book "Licht gibt Leben" (Light, the giver of life), Dr. Sabine Thor-Wiedermann suggests a number of ways of banishing those winter blues:

  • Do you long for the sun? Treat yourself to a session on the sunbed once or twice a week. This will raise your spirits.
  • Go for a walk, no matter what the weather's like. Half and hour every day. If you work, you can use your lunch break for a walk. If you don't work, go for a walk while it's bright in the morning.
  • Make sure there's plenty of light in your home. As soon as you get up, turn on all the lights. And even if it's dark when you get home in the afternoon, don't worry about the electricity bill and fill everywhere with plenty of light.
  • Choose light colours for your winter clothes, You'll see, your spirits will rise.
  • Eat food containing carbohydrates, such as pasta or bread. Carbohydrates are capable of influencing the metabolism of certain messenger substances in the brain (e.g. serotonin) and enhance the way we feel.
  • Go easy on alcohol. It may cheer you up briefly, but even small quantities are capable of causing depression in the long term.
Source: Dr. Sabine Thor-Wiedemann, Licht gibt Leben, published by Knaur.