Fall is among us! What is your favorite thing about fall? Is it the cooler weather, the pumpkin spice lattes, rain boots, or holiday festivities? For some this can be their least favorite time of year. With the changing seasons, it can also bring about changes in mental health status. It is important to be aware of how the change of seasons can affect you or those around you. It has been found that every year about five percent of Americans experience seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, also known as Seasonal Depression, is a type of depression that is related to the change in seasons. Symptoms of SAD usually start in the fall and continue into the winter months usually causing a decrease in energy and mood changes. The symptoms tend to revolve around the spring and summer months.
If you find yourself feeling a little more down during the fall and winter months don’t dismiss those feelings. Sometimes these feelings can be written off as a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk, and feeling that you may have to deal with it alone intensifies those feelings. It is vital to take the necessary steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.
Here are some things that can be done to help you manage before and during this season:
-Spending time outdoors
-Vitamin D supplements
-Get quality sleep
-Socialize with friends or family
-Plan fun activities
SAD can be associated with other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of SAD, and their mania can be linked to a certain season specifically. It is normal to feel down sometimes, but if it spans across days at a time, and you find yourself unable to do your normal activities, it is important to seek help. Learn more about SAD here.
Stress is manageable, but for those with SAD, painful stress or family conflict during the holiday seasons may feel overwhelming. Therapy can be a powerful treatment option, and sometimes medication may also help.
Things such as making a list of priorities for the season, getting outside as much as possible, creating a consistent schedule, and taking care of your body can be options to help you through seasonal changes.
If season changes have been difficult for you in the past, this one can be better. Take the necessary precautions to protect your mental health and you can reverse the changes to your mental health during various seasons. Join the Collectively Rooted mailing list today for resources that can help maintain your mental health year round.