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Single during winter? You are not alone

By Luz Mariana Rodríguez | January 21, 2024

Young couple walking
Picture by Luz Mariana Rodríguez

Have you been feeling a little lonely lately?

There is a vibe that outlines and embraces the winter charm, and it is no wonder, this is a magical time, full of colors, traditions, and the feeling of a new beginning.

However, this is also a season where we can feel nostalgia and longings that become difficult to explain with the naked eye. To quote Emily Dickinson, the great American poet, once said "There's a particular angle of sunlight that comes through the window on winter afternoons and weighs down on me, much like the heaviness of hearing organ music in a big church.”

There is no doubt that the melancholic overtones take on a greater intensity, as if this season were a roller coaster that takes you to the peak of happiness with the joy of family celebrations and then descends to the coldness of a lonely sunset. This is a phenomenon that can influence a slight change in your intrapersonal relationships, and how emotions are managed, as well as the motivation to do new things, work and even concentrate on a specific task becomes an ordeal.

Did you feel identified? If so, you do not need to worry, as the answer may be simpler than we think. To better understand this phenomenon, clinical psychologist Ariadna Torres will guide us on this path.

"Weather conditions play an extremely important role in our emotions at an individual level, if we analyze this point of view in terms of the months between October and February we can notice that during this time the days are much shorter, resulting in the lack of production of the hormone serotonin, which is related to happiness, positive thoughts and is generated through sunlight."

An example of this is what is known as "Seasonal Affective Disorder," or “SAD” a type of depression related to having fewer hours of sunlight in the northernmost and southernmost latitudes, from late fall to early spring.

In addition to this, we can open a parenthesis to a particularly critical issue such as human relationships during this time of the year, to be more specific, in couple relationships. Two surveys were conducted with an age range of 18 to 35 years and 35 to 60 years, the first being more informal links and the second mostly more established commitments.

Participants were asked: What is the most feasible time for them to start a relationship? In the range of 18 to 35, the results were: 41.5% from October to January, 19.5% from February to May and 39% from June to September. To this same question, the range of respondents from 35 to 60 years old answered: from October to January 40%, from February to May 36.7% and from June to September 23.3%.

There is a clear trend in which relationships acquire a greater demand at the beginning of the autumn-winter season. However, is this a definitive answer? – "It's more of a consequence, due to what has already been explained by the lack of serotonin, being able to feel lonely during this time of year, we seek to pair up to generate this emotion ourselves. However, it is not a rule and there are some authors who mark as the main periods for finding a partner mainly winter and summer, with the difference that in summer they can be more related to informality and casual encounters."

Another answer may be the number of celebrations and festivities that accompany this time of the year. In the same survey, the debate of "if I'm having a problem with my partner, I prefer to wait until the end of the holidays to talk about it" was opened, to which the age range of 18 to 35 answered in 46.3% that depending on the problem, 7.3% that they preferred to wait and 46.3% that it did not matter while in the 35 to 60 56% depending on the problem,  33.3% are not interested and 10% prefer to wait. These can be results that determine a response of indifference, but if we put the first two options together (I prefer to wait and I do wait) they can give a greater margin of importance to the company during this season. "The reality is that at this time of year we have a little more social and family pressure, there are many gatherings and going alone to this type of event can even cause anxiety in some people."

Healthy meals

To conclude, we must mention the importance of good nutrition and the awareness to maintain good mental health to increase the production of serotonin in our brain. - "Our diet has a lot to do, although it may not seem like it, in autumn and winter we eat heavier meals compared to spring and summer, since the skin detects the cold breeze and sends a protective order to the brain to protect us with foods rich in fat to generate heat, which causes an overload in the stomach, causing tiredness, irritability and sometimes leading to the "Seasonal Affective Disorder".

It is for this reason that it is important to integrate an exercise routine and balanced diet. As well as the importance of awareness in our environment and the constant gratitude of family, friends, and the practice of self-love.

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