Sometimes it can seem like, liking fall is a mandatory thing. Everyone is talking of pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, and fall activities. However, you are not alone if seasonal changes are difficult for you. The truth is that for many people, the transition to fall is tough and the transition to winter is even tougher. Understanding why seasonal changes can be difficult can help you plan strategies to make this season a better one for you.
Holiday Pressure to Keep Up
For almost everyone, the transition to fall initiates a lot of holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. Holidays are fun, but they’re also a lot of work. The pressure to appear to be having fun while working to keep up with the neighbors, your family, and your friends can be overwhelming. There are decorations to buy, meals to make, presents to purchase, and endless events to attend. Skip out on anything, and you might feel guilty and like you’re not making the season magical. It can feel like a no-win game.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is seasonal depression. Doctors believe it could be related to changes in light levels outside. The good news is that SAD is highly treatable, often with light therapy, outdoor activity, and sometimes with medication. If you find your mood shifting every year or if you’ve noticed that this fall you just can’t get into the season, then seasonal affective disorder could be the cause.
Daylight Savings Time
“Falling back” means getting an extra hour of sleep but it can also mean spending a lot more time in the dark. Research is increasingly uncovering ways that Daylight Savings Time affects physical and mental health. This is a risk factor for depression in people with seasonal affective disorder. It can also decrease access to vitamin D, a primary source of which is sunlight. Adequate vitamin D intake is key for many basic bodily processes, and vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to depression.
Less Access to Light
Daylight Savings Time means spending less time in natural sunlight. Many people feel more tired and less hopeful during the winter months, even when they’re not depressed. For some, the lack of adequate daylight may alter their food intake and hunger level. So, weight gain at the holidays could be due to hunger signals from your brain, not just the availability of too much pumpkin pie.
Take time to protect your mental health and watch the transition to autumn and winter become your favorite time of year.
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Source: Psychology Today