Do you feel pressure from friends or family to delight in the fall season? From the fall colours to the pumpkin flavoured treats, and your favourite cozy sweater, we can seem to forget this time of year is quite difficult for many people.
With the fall season winding down and a decrease in temperatures and daylight if you find yourself struggling with a decreased mood know you are not alone. Not only is this yearly transition tough within itself, being in the midst of a global pandemic doesn’t help. Especially if you typically rely on meeting with friends or going out to social events to keep you energized during this time of year.
More than ever, it is important for you to take a moment to honestly self-reflect on your emotional state as we head into the change in season. Ask yourself: What changes am I seeing within my thoughts, emotions, or behaviours?
If you find your shifting into a state where motivation is lacking and joy seems a bit harder to grasp, you may be going through a very common experience called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is quite similar to depression. Typically, SAD occurs within people during times of the year where there is less sunlight (such as fall moving into winter). In South Western Ontario, this usually starts to occur in early November. Researchers suggest the lack of sunlight disrupts chemical production in the brain which in turn greatly impacts peoples’ moods. The changes in sunlight have also been known to interrupt sleep cycles – also impacting peoples’ moods.
This list isn’t to help you self-diagnose, rather bring awareness to your experiences so you can take the appropriate actions to feel better.
Here are some tips to help elevate your mood and feel more like yourself again.
Nourish Your Body
Manage Work Stress
For when you know you need extra support.
Contact your Doctor
There are medications available to help balance the chemical production in your brain (SSRIs).
Talk Therapy (Counselling)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been found to greatly improve symptoms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Counselling AND Medication
Combining the two methods is a comprehensive approach to sustainable care for your symptoms.
If you feel down heading into the winter season, please remember you are not alone! This is an extremely common experience and there are many ways to support yourself and receive support from others. At On Your Mind Counselling, we are here to provide therapeutic care as well as connect you to any further resources so you can be well.
Take care of yourself! And learn more about On Your Mind Counselling at OnYourMindCounselling.com.
Written by Tori Mudie, BA, MA, RP, CCC