Do seasonal changes impact your mood?
It is that time of the year when the days become shorter, the leaves change colors and blanket the ground. The bright colors of the summer give way to more subdued shades of orange, gold, and brown. The sun sets earlier in the day and the days become grayer with the approach of winter. The air begins to have a chill and the rainy days seem bleaker and darker than those warm summers showers. Individuals will often report a change in their moods with the turning of the clocks back. We leave for work in the dark and return in the evening to our homes in the darkness. It is the decrease in light and sunshine that may increase feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep disturbances, and unhealthy eating. Some people change their eating habits and turn to comfort foods to help improve their moods. These unhealthy foods are loaded with carbohydrates (sugars) which give us a momentarily boost of energy. Others may increase their consumption of alcohol to relax and create those feelings of euphoria. People exercise less and spend fewer hours outside because of the cold weather. All of these different types of behavioral changes may increase feelings of sadness and depression.
Improving Your Mood Through the Impact of Seasonal Changes
Counseling interventions and techniques that may help with improving your mood as we move towards the grind of winter.
Counselors often encourage and support a variety of body moving activities to help with the releasing of the “good feel” chemicals in our brain such as the endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and others.
Suggested Body Moving Activities: exercise, yoga, cleaning, climbing steps, long walks, and hikes, playing sports, stretching and when possible riding a bike outside, weather permitting.
Counselors and therapists also suggest a variety of relaxing activities to help with reducing anxiety and stress.
These relaxing activities may include: Breathing activities, mindfulness, meditations, naps, being outdoors, talking with a friend or family member. Some other activities may include massages, playing board games, listening to music, reading books, visualization activities, hobbies and participating in groups that are interesting and attractive to our interests.
As we move further into late fall and winter, I will continue to provide suggestions on how to have better self-care and promote a healthier lifestyle. I will also be blogging on healthy ways to manage the stress of the holiday season.
“Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.”