Do you experience different moods as summer moves into fall and again with the next seasonal change? I undergo a difference in my attitudes and energy levels that seems to be out of my control. It’s a struggle, but all I need to do is remember to do the things that counteract the effects of this time of year.
Even though I love the beauty of fall, I find myself feeling sad, hungrier, and wanting more sleep.
It’s not our imagination because scientists have proven that the seasonal changes have a few aspects that positively can affect people’s moods, hence the diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Different people experience these changes to varying degrees. These changes happen when:
- There is less light outdoors
- Daylight Savings Times causes more waking hours to be in the dark
- Daylight Savings Time can bring disorder to some people’s circadian rhythms. The hypothalamus in the brain controls these rhythms in our minds. It’s our natural sleep/wake cycle that makes us feel sleepy at the same times every day. Some people have different rhythms, therefore, being morning people or night owls.
- When the season’s change the colder weather causes many of us to spend less time outside. Less time outdoors results in lower levels of sunlight exposure which then creates a Vitamin D deficiency. Low Vitamin D causes lower energy levels.
- A vitamin D deficiency can cause depression.
- Depending on the season, or should I say every season, brings new holidays and expectations to fulfill. People tend to feel the pressure to perform unrealistic expectations or have family issues to face whenever there is a get-together.
I don’t know about you, but I feel every bit of these changes. I would rather be outside at any given time, but I hate the cold, so I tend to avoid going out. I know it’s not good but the warmth of the house feels so much cozier doesn’t it?
My sleep seems always to be a little messed up, but in the fall I crave soups and sleep. The comfort of warm food and a soft, warm blanket both make me happy. But if I overeat or sleep too much neither is right. I’m either left groggy for the day or fail to meet my goals for the day. Supposedly we should try to keep our sleep habits the same as much as possible to experience our best comfortable sleep.
Of course, there are things we can do to make the seasonal changes easier to go through. Even though I find it hard to do these things while going through these changes, it will be worth it in the end, or so I keep telling myself!”
“The Things To Do To Make Seasonal Changes Easier”
- Doctors recommend getting as much sunlight as possible. Take advantage of sunny days, go out around noon when the sun is it’s strongest and soak up some vitamin D from the sun. I fight this one because I don’t like the cold but I don’t enjoy being depressed with no energy either. All the things that never get finished because of lack of energy bug the crap out of me! So I could bundle up and tough out the walks. There is another way that can help with the lack of light. It’s called a lightbox . Recommendations are 30 to 40 minutes a day which involves merely sitting in front of the lightbox so you could set the lightbox on your desk and get your therapy while you work, or maybe while you’re having your morning coffee. I’ve been looking at lightboxes for a while now and this year might be the year to buy one, we’ll see.
- Many people find relief from SAD by scheduling more time with friends, going to fun events more often, and keeping their schedule full. I think it could work; I always feel uplifted after an evening with friends.
- Sometimes you may have to pick up your phone and call a mental health professional. By now, most people know that if we can’t make ourselves feel better by making specific changes in our life, we might need to get help with medication. Usually, this time of year I up my antidepressant meds a little with my doctor’s advice of course and she never considers lowering my medicines over the fall and winter months. That’s me, but everyone is different. The fact that doctors checked the brain of the man who did the mass shooting in Las Vegas and found no sign of mental health issues tells me if doctors can see a difference in our brains when we are depressed, a physical change, then the idea of medication makes more sense. I am so glad I don’t have to feel the way I did before I started taking medication. I can enjoy life,…really enjoy life.
- Take Vitamin D supplements or up the amount of what you normally take. Talk to your doctor, of course, to be sure you don’t overdo it.
- Keep a journal. Write about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Getting these out and onto paper does bring relief. Also, I think it helps us to give direction to our life. I tend to have some great ideas on things in my life, but if I don’t write them down when I have them they are soon forgotten!
What do you do to alleviate the changes you feel when the summer turns to fall and winter?
Positive thinking skills can help you feel better too. Check out the article here.
Pets are also therapeutic especially when you are feeling lonely.
Seasonal weather changes are hard enough but if you also face a lot of stress in your life things can get even more challenging.