Seasonal depression – myth or reality?

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Now that summer is officially over and we’re getting ready to switch over to cozy sweaters and hot coffee, we have to pay attention to the way our mind and body reacts to this change in season. Don’t you ever get that inexplicable feeling of sadness or nostalgia when fall begins? That might be the case of SAD – seasonal affective disorder. So, how real is seasonal depression?

What is SAD?

SAD is a type of mental illness related to the change in seasons, temperatures and degree of sunlight. As the weather gets cold and gloomy, our serotonin and melatonin levels drop as well, affecting our biological clock. The opposite events can affect us during spring and summer as well.

Symptoms

The most frequent signs of seasonal depression are a lack of energy and motivation, appetite changes and an overall low mood. These can vary depending on the season. Therefore, fall-winter SAD is represented by oversleeping, a craving for carbs, weight gain and tiredness, while spring-summer SAD deals with insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and even anxiety.

How to deal with it

  • Get out of your head: being alone with your thoughts can be scary, but you can try to cleanse your mind by expressing your emotions in various ways. Write, paint, sing, speak to your loved ones. It’s always better to let it all out than to keep what you feel trapped inside.
  • Enjoy the process: make the most of every season, take in the scenery each of them brings. Play in the snow, dance in the rain, tan under the bright sun, smell the fresh spring flowers blooming.
  • Keep yourself busy: processing your emotions is always a good idea, but overthinking can really aggravate your SAD. Read a book, watch a movie or a series, go out, or simply do anything that brings you joy and keeps the dark thoughts away.

Of course, if you feel like you can’t cope with your feelings on your own, getting professional help is advisable. But, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, there are always ways in which you can keep it under control.

This being said, cure your summertime sadness and take advantage of the time that you are given. No matter the weather, enjoy the present moment and don’t be afraid to ask for help, should you ever need it.

While you’re here, take a look at another article which could benefit your state of mind this fall: How to deal with the pandemic – Things I’ve tried while being stuck at home.

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