Low mood and depression
Feeling low, out of sorts or sad is a normal part of life and at times it can be quite difficult to know what is causing it. In most cases it will pass, but sometimes professional help may be required. There are also many things you can do to make yourself feel better.
Signs of low mood
When you are feeling low, you may feel sad, tired and often worried. You may cry more than usual or lose your motivation and zest for life. Some people withdraw, while others become more irritated, restless or resentful. Some may have difficulty sleeping, while others may experience actual physical symptoms, such as aches, reduced appetite and loss of libido.
Why do I feel low?
There are various reasons for feeling low. It may be due to external events, such as:
- conflicts with others
- problems related to your finances or health
Exhaustion, which is caused by overworking and not having sufficient time to recover, as well as anxiety can result in low mood. It could also be due to a vitamin deficiency, such as a lack of thyroid hormone, B12 or iron.
Test your mental health
If you want to gain an understanding of your well-being, you can take our test on living habits and mental health.
Advice to make yourself feel better
- Talk to someone: it could be a friend, partner or someone in your family. Get help from others!
- Physical exercise can be very helpful.
- Socialise with others in person or online – even if you do not feel like it.
- Do things that you usually enjoy – even if you do not feel like it at the time.
- Take care of yourself: make sure to get sufficient sleep, eat well and exercise. Go outside to get some sunlight and energy.
- Be kind to yourself: try not to be judgemental. Instead, try to acknowledge your feelings. We all feel low every now and again.
- If you can change or influence the cause of your low mood – start taking steps to make a change.
- Make sure to have clear routines and avoid mixing up your day and night sleep patterns.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs.
When low mood leads to depression
If your low mood persists, deepens, and lasts for most of your waking hours for at least a couple of weeks, it is referred to as depression. This can make it difficult for you to concentrate and make decisions, and it may feel as though nothing is enjoyable.
If you suffer from depression, life can seem meaningless and you may experience thoughts of taking your life. It is important, then, to seek help from your health centre. Get in touch with the emergency psychiatric clinic if you feel extremely unwell.
Psychotherapy is often effective in treating depression and in some cases medicine may also be helpful.
The Student Health Centre’s courses
Would you like to learn new strategies for dealing with worry and rumination, rather than examine individual negative thoughts or personal issues? In that case, participation in our Metacognitive Group therapy (MCGT) may be useful for you.
Make an appointment
If your low mood persists and it is difficult to cope with daily life, get in touch with the Student Health Centre for an initial assessment to identify the right support for you. Perhaps the short-term interventions that we offer might be sufficient. Otherwise, you can get advice on where to turn for more long-term counselling.
Winter blues and seasonal depression
Most people are affected by the winter darkness in Sweden and this part of the world, but for some people it may have negative effects. You may feel tired, have a lack of energy or feel down, for example. However, to some extent, these reactions are normal.
Tips on how to survive the darkness
There are many things you can do to make yourself to feel better. Focus on self-care. Ask yourself:
- What do I enjoy doing?
- When do I feel relaxed and calm?
- What can I do to make myself feel a little better?
Do more of those things!
Also remember that everyone is more tired in wintertime. However, your Swedish classmates and teachers have experienced the winter darkness before and know that it is only temporary.
See more tips on how to deal with the winter darkness below.
- Establish routines for your basic needs and activities.
- Find a balance between your studies and free time.
- Turn to friends for social support.
- Be active and plan things that you can look forward to.
- Take up a new hobby or start a new project.
- Do something creative.
- Lower your expectations regarding your studies and life in general.
- Remember that spring will arrive in Sweden soon.
- Make sure to get as much natural light as possible, especially in the mornings.
- Go outside even if it is cloudy.
- Use artificial lights (a lamp with a bright bulb, a light box etc.) to help regulate your circadian rhythm.
- Sit near windows when indoors.
- Light a candle when it gets dark.
- If you experience difficulty sleeping, make sure to turn off the lights and avoid looking at screens in the evening.
- Stay active and exercise – this can help lift your mood.
- Bear in mind that outdoor exercise is especially beneficial.
- Create evening and bedtime routines and try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night.
- Avoid taking daytime naps.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Take additional vitamin D and Omega 3 from supplements.
- Avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the evening.
- Be careful when it comes to drinking alcohol.
When to get help
The problems may be amplified for some people, with symptoms similar to that of depression. If the symptoms return at a certain time of year for several years in a row, it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You may need help to get better if you feel that you have difficulty coping with your studies and managing your daily life.
Telephone and appointment booking
+46 (0)46-222 43 77
Subject to temporary changes.
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Other healthcare providers
Other healthcare providers are referred to our telephone hours above. Please note that the Student Health Centre does not accept referrals from other healthcare providers.